• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 04
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I told him no good would come of it but he’d never listen. Like so many things over the years that he’s paid no heed to. All my words gathered in the lines of his face, sitting there like grey dirt that washing won’t shift.

He says let this man paint us. He says this man will give us money and we can go to the hospital. He says if they can’t sort you out, then hell knows we can buy us a baby. I hate it when he cusses, told him that many times too.

I told him no picture. I told him no painter is going to give us that kind of money.

Still he made me stand beside him, in front of our own door. Years ago when momma gave me that cameo brooch and helped me stitch a white ribbon trim on my work apron, I thought one day I’d be happy. I thought I’d have my own little girl to teach to sew, to pass that brooch on to, to teach to sing. Whether it was him or me, I couldn’t tell you. No babies come.

We stand side by side and painter comes and pushes us around like we’re nothing but bread dough. Then painter gives him that pitchfork with the tines so clean and shining. Not a thing that’s ever been put to work, that’s for sure. I get nothing to hold. And then we stand there for hours so it feels.

Painter says we’ll love it when we see how it turns out. I think about the chores that aren’t getting done. Painter says we’re doing so well, holding still. I think about how much money we’ll get paid, but I’ve lived long enough to know, money ain’t everything.



Time goes so slow, doing nothing.

Then painter says he’s done. Husband can keep the pitchfork, that’ll be good payment won’t it? Fitting. I say what about money we was promised, but painter says, come and look. Come and see yourselves. It’s like he doesn’t hear me, just like husband.

So there we are. The only child we have is oil on canvas, a pitchfork with shiny tines, anger written in grey lines on our faces. I told husband no good would come of it. I wish I could drive that cussed pitchfork straight through his heart.