Mike Morrell posted a link to storypraxis this morning on Facebook, which gave me a burst of inspiration during my morning coffee. Not only did the daily writing prompt (that one green thing) help me produce a short bit o' fiction, it also got Edie Brickell stuck in my head all day long. So, I give you both:
The green tablecloth always signaled a magical morning.
Green meant Mama’s spirits were high and she’d set her cares aside for a bit. Green meant fried biscuits with Johnnie Fair syrup, and dancing out back in the sunshine. On the rare occasions the table was draped in the emerald spread, the center vase would be stuffed to overflowing with sprays of yellow wildflowers, as if the sunlight couldn’t wait for us to venture outdoors and had invited itself in to our celebratory banquet.
I always knew it was a Green day before I opened my eyes.
Any normal morning and I would have tiptoed out of bed without flipping on a light, careful not to disturb Mama sleeping on the sofa. I would have pulled on my school clothes, brushed my teeth, washed my face, combed my hair back into a ponytail, slipped into my jacket and slid out the carport door. We lived far enough from my school to make it a long walk, but not far enough for me to qualify for transportation, so I made sure to leave in plenty of time to catch free breakfast and get out to the playground before the other kids started piling off their buses.
Green mornings were all together different.
I would awake to footsteps in the kitchen, fresh brewed coffee wafting down the hall, and gentle light streaming through the gap under the bedroom door. I tumbled out of bed in my pajamas. No need to dress for school; there would be no school on a green day. Tomorrow morning Mama would be passed out on the sofa, and I would scribble an excuse note in her handwriting to turn into the office. That was no matter today. Today was all about her and me and beauty and joy while it was to be had.
Mama and I perched side by side on lounge chairs, letting the red polish bake onto our toenails as we listened to Juice Newton on the stereo through the screen door. I only know that when I'm with you, you're my sunshine, you're my rain. The sweetest thing I've ever known is loving you. There was comfort in the warmth of the sun on my eyelids and Mama’s arm close to mine, and I wanted to sit with her on that patio forever. Me and my mama and God’s brilliant light.
As the day wore on, all too quickly in my estimation, our carnival of two would travel through the town and down to diner where Mama sometimes waitressed, and we’d eat pie while all the other staff and regulars would fawn over how much I looked like my mother. They’d tell me stories about how wonderful Mama was, and stories about funny things she sometimes said. Some of their tales would get cut short by a shake of the head and Mama’s stern glare. Those were the stories I most wanted to hear.
Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me. Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee. Even as Mama’s sweet voice lulled me to sleep, I felt a pitiful sadness welling up inside my soul. I pretended to drift into restfulness, disguising the anxious thoughts busying themselves in my mind, assuring a restless night. I listened as her hand stopped caressing my hair, as she lifted herself from the edge of my bed and softly closed my door behind her. I listened to the sound of hangers scraping against the closet rod, as she selected her outfit and brushed her hair and applied her lipstick and sprayed her perfume. Then I listened as she walked out of the house and down to the street, as she greeted a stranger and closed his car door behind her.
Tomorrow,clearly, would be a blue day.