September 10th, H. Malakhi

Wednesday, September 10, ‘81

It does not feel like my birthday, although I know it is. It feels just like all the years before—lonely and empty.

They said the school officially closed this morning. Chairman Eldridge left the board no choice; it was either close, or beg the parents for more money to keep on going. I don’t know about the others, but I don’t have any more money to spare. But they chose to die while they still had some honour left. Now Ricky will have to ride the bus an hour into Cache to go to school, and I won’t see him as much. I don’t know what I will do.

I finally put up that mirror in my room at the head of my bed. When I look in it, I can see through the window and out into the street. Sometimes I can even see old Mister Cob sitting on his front porch polishing his gun. I like it. It makes the room feel more roomy—less cramped, and it makes me wonder what other people see when they look at me. I still just see a frightened little girl who can’t even make it up the hill by the creek on a bicycle. Charles laughed at me when I told him that. I wonder if I will ever change…

I have been thinking about old Mister Cob quite a bit these days. Perhaps it is because he is one of the few people I can see from in here. I wonder why he is always on his porch with his gun and an oil rag? What is he afraid of? Charles doesn’t clean his .38 Special that much. But then again, I cannot recall the last time he shot it. I still remember when he put it in my hands though. I thought it had broken my wrists, and he said it doesn’t even kick that much. That really made me feel like a little girl.

That Missus Benet is on with her rants again. Last week in church she got up and told Pastor Jackson that Jesus ain’t never coming back. She said if he was, he wouldn’t have left in such a hurry. She said to shut up about it, or else we would all start believing it. Well, everyone thinks she is crazy, and I doubt that anyone really listens to her anymore… not since Little Franklin fell in the river and drowned… I just hope she doesn’t go starting up trouble again. She can be really fanatical, and last time Charlie said if she didn’t shut it up right quick, he would shoot her dead and that would be the end of it. I hope it doesn’t come to that…

I heard them howling in the hills just beyond the river again last night. Charles said they were just wolves, but I’m not so sure. I’ve heard wolves before, and those didn’t sound like wolves. They sounded too big. I don’t know, maybe he is right and I’m just paranoid, but it doesn’t make me feel safe, and I’ll be doing nothing but worrying now with Ricky riding the bus all the way into Cache. Maybe I will be the one on the porch polishing Charlie’s .38. Wouldn’t that be something!

Well, I should see about this day before it slips away. Perhaps I’ll make something for Ricky when he gets home from school.

H. Malakhi

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