Saturday, April 02, 2011

The Absent - Excerpt - Peggy Eldridge-Love



            Juice from the blue Popsicle trickled down Lauren’s arm onto her faded yellow sun suit. It had been a while since she licked it, her attention instead focused on the voices just behind the rickety screen door. They were loud angry voices, and they were talking about her.
            “See if I care what you do with the stinking little bastard,” Alva, her grandmother, screamed. “Hell, you can put her out for the trash collector for all I care!”      
            “Then why did you make me have her? I told you I could still get an abortion, but no, wasn’t no daughter of yours having no abortion. You remember that, Mama? You remember that?”
            The resounding sound of the slap Alva gave her daughter, Charlotte, Lauren’s mother, rang out like gunfire making Lauren jump not once, but twice as the last of the Popsicle slid off the stick and into her lap.
            “Well, she ain’t my ‘sponsibility and you ain’t gonna dump her on me. I didn’t want you neither, come to think of it. You so big on abortions, I shoulda got rid of you.”
            Lauren’s tiny fingers trembled as she tried to wipe the blue slime from her sun suit, the expression on her face far too serious for a four-year-old. She began to tremble in earnest when the screen door behind her flew open. Charlotte, her narrow shoulders heaving up and down with rage, the fingerprints of the just heard slap already showing up red against her amber skin, propped the door open with her foot, leaned over, grabbed Lauren by one tiny brown arm and drug her through the door into the dark abyss of the musty living room.
            Charlotte dug the heel of her palm into the base of Lauren’s neck shoving her forward with a force that sent her reeling across the linoleum floor. With nothing to stop her momentum, Lauren sailed into the cheap, pressed wood coffee table, its contents flying everywhere as she continued her journey, ending up in an awkward somersault that landed her in an upside down heap against a far wall.
            “I don’t want her, Mama! You can do whatever you want with her. I’m outta here!”
            Lauren could feel the blood seeping from her ear, but she didn’t know what it was. All she knew was her mother was leaving and Grandma Alva was going to put her in the trash, but, scared as she was, she was getting sleepy, and, try as she may to stay awake, she couldn’t.

From the (WIP) novel The Absent by Peggy Eldridge-Love  -©2011
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