Friday, October 31, 2008

Betsy's House

She saw it coming out of the corner of her eye and ducked. His aim and delivery was predictable. A grunt preceded the windup. He bellowed as the tin plate went sailing across the kitchen. It bounced off the kitchen cupboards and clattered to the floor spilling food along its entire path. It was easier to just stand there and wait. He punched her less and it was over sooner if he didn’t have to chase her.

Your food is tasteless enough, he shouted. Why do I have to eat this crap off of bent metal saucers? You are the lousiest thing that has ever happened to me. The least you could do is cook decent food.

All the breakable dishes are gone, she quietly said.

He grabbed her arm hard and pulled her close enough to slap her twice hard across the face. Clean up this mess bitch. I’m going out to get me some supper. This place better be spotless when I get back.

It was always the same. It didn’t matter what she cooked, how she cooked it or what she served it on, he found fault, no matter what.

She was still a young women. They had only been married for nine years. Looking at the life that stretched ahead of her was unbearable. What had happened to him to make him turn so mean?

He came home late. Drunk. There is a box out in the wagon for you. I brought you something. Go get it, he slurred.

She didn’t need to go get it to know what it was. She put on her shawl and went out into the dark night. In the back of the wagon was a small box. It was heavy for a small package and clinked a little when she picked it up. She came inside and placed the box on the kitchen table and went to back to the book she was reading.

You didn’t open what I brought you. Open the box, damn it! I’m trying to be nice to you.

She got back up and went into the kitchen for a knife. She held it steady for a moment, grasped tightly in the palm of her hand. The twine around the box sliced instantly with the slightest pull of the sharp knife. Inside was a set of glazed clay dishes, four each of dinner plates, side plates and bowls. How many sets of new dishes had he brought home by now? She had lost count. The rubbish heap out back glittered with a colorful sea of shards.

Now maybe you can try and cook a decent supper for a change. I bought you some good dishes to use.

This was the last box of new dishes she was going to put up with. It was time to put an end to this. I’m going to bed, she said, not much louder than a whisper. Goodnight.


Anonymous said...

So sad she had to put up with all that anger. Maybe she needed to go on her own.

Anonymous said...

Hi Christopher! What a great story. Is there a part II to follow, or do we use our imaginations to finish off the tale? I know that area is known as Betsy Gap, is this "folklore" or true? There is a rock house/cave in the mountain below my house. There is a tale that it was used as part of the Underground Railroad. I would love to know more, but have not met anyone who can tell me. All very interesting...
The remnants of Betsy's house are not only beautiful, but have stories to tell....

Christopher C. NC said...

This would be chapter one of a tall tale I am creating from my own fevered imagination to go with the ruins here. How long it will take to complete, I don't know. Maybe by next Halloween.

Anonymous said...

I Love It!

Anonymous said...

Christopher, you need to write a book - you are a storyteller (in addition to the other things you do so well). I was on the edge of my seat, and although I suspected it was just a story until I saw your comment, it is entirely believable and totally captivating.

Anonymous said...

It's very believable & there is a lot of truth in it. You are so talented.
Upon observance I noticed stacked rocks by the old remembrance statue. Are they the foundation to what was once the home that belonged to this old remembrance statue. Do you suppose!!!!!!!

Christopher C. NC said...

Kim, perhaps when I am done building a cozy cabin and planting a garden I will find more time to write some more stories. I could blog less too. Nah.

Lola is the "old remembrance statue" the fireplace and hearth? Yes those stacked stones are the foundation of an old cabin.

Jon said...

Christopher, very well written piece...kept me in suspense when she got the knife to cut the twine to open the box. (I thought she might have then used it to cut the jerk's throat, but I'm sure you have something creative planned for Chapter2. I'll stay tuned for it.)

It is a treat to be back online after being off on medical leave and to visit your interesting blog once again...certainly one of my favorites.

Jon at Mississippi Garden

Benjamin Vogt said...

Wish my students wrote like this....A narrative? Description through action? Characterization through action? Heaven forbid.

Christopher C. NC said...

Why thank you Benjamin. I'll take that as a complement. Though I have no doubt I could use a few classes with a good teacher.