When Josey was a little girl, she would spend rainy afternoons playing with her mother’s pot of spare buttons – pearlised cuff buttons, chunky wooden coat buttons, shimmery greens and blues from old skirts and blouses. Josey let them run through her fingers like sea-smoothed shells, listening to their their soft chink and slither, pebbles caught in a swell.
Now Josey carries a pair of nail scissors in her coat pocket. She snips the threads and cords while people aren’t looking, adds their buttons to her stolen treasures.
But the collection isn’t Mother’s. They don’t feel the same.
It’s just me and dad now, two left out of the five that once made our family. Susie and Jess left within months of Mum dying.
Susie told me it was Dad’s drinking that finally made her leave, the cycle of alcohol and anger and self-recrimination.
Jess never told me why, only that she was going and that she would never return. I remember her expression as she boarded the ferry for the mainland, that mix of shame and sorrow. And relief.
I’ve never blamed my sisters for leaving but I can’t. Dad and I circle each other like boats caught in a whirlpool, pulled by the same forces, unable to separate. Without me he’d sink and without him I’d have to rejoin the world.
Here we drift, trying to stay afloat, wondering when we’ll grow too tired to paddle, waiting to drown.
Written for FFfAW. See the pic, write a tale but don’t forget to read and comment on others. See here to join in.