could you continue "The Lines Open to Ourselves"?? maybe this time a journal entry from bree after claire tells her jamie is her real father??
anonymous asked: Back in the future, Brianna goes to see a medium to connect with her parents. However, her grandparents among others come through instead.
Liv says: For a number of reasons - the style of the writing/Bree’s voice, placing some focus on Jamie/Claire’s relationship, etc. - I’ve played with the prompts a bit. Hope you still enjoy, Nonnies!
Find the other journal entries for The Lines Open to Ourselves here.
THIS NOTEBOOK IS THE PROPERTY OF: Brianna Ellen Randall
13 13.5 14
November 27, 1962 – 9:30PM
I lied to Mama again today.
I’ve been lying to Mama a lot lately.
And they aren’t silly fibs about unfinished homework. They aren’t false promises about eating my vegetables or reading by flashlight (Daddy says that’ll ruin my eyesight). Those lies are never for Mama, anyways. She isn’t home after school to check my algebra. She isn’t home to tuck me into bed, to slide out The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe from beneath my pillow and say, “Medically speaking, your father is wrong.” She isn’t there to hear those lies.
But I never thought I could lie to Mama. She always tells the truth – it’s in her blood – and I think the truth finds her too. She can see through the skin and bone to find the break.
How can you be such an awful liar, Mama? I asked her one day.
You say it like it’s a bad thing, dinky. But then she paused and looked out the window. I suppose I’ve a glass face. Your father used to tell me that.
I remember thinking Daddy was confused, that Mama was anything but glass. More like iron or steel. More like the schoolyard’s Virgin Mary, centuries-old marble standing high above the ground. You can’t shatter Mama. She’ll only stand as tall as that statue, forcing the world to move and wrap itself around her.
What’s ‘a glass face’?
It means my face betrays me.
Do you think it’s strange that she said “betrays”? As though she wants to lie but can’t? Betrays? I wanted to ask, What are you hiding, Mama? But I didn’t. I couldn’t. (I was ten and scared.)
I have so many questions, Diary. So many questions I’m afraid to ask. Like,
When I see her on the phone, agreeing to overtime, I want to ask, Why are you running from us, Mama?
And when I see her washing up, rubbing her left hand raw, I want to ask, Why do you take off Daddy’s ring but not the silver one?
When I see her in front of me and across from me and beside me, whenever I see her: Where are you, Mama? Where have you been?
Mama’s face might have a mind of its own, but I doubt it’s much farther than what’s inside her head (you can’t get much farther than that). She doesn’t lie, but she doesn’t talk, either. I’ve never known what Mama is thinking – I can see the skin, but I can never find the break. Sometimes it’s like I’ve never known her at all.
(Daddy seems to know how to reach her, though Mama doesn’t want him to, and I’m not sure he wants to either. Maybe that’s the marble part of Mama – the piece of her that keeps Daddy out.)
And that’s why I’ve been lying, Diary. To reach her. She’s been strange ever since Halloween. Sad again.
But my face isn’t like Mama’s (it isn’t like Daddy’s, either), and it hasn’t betrayed me yet. For instance, we were in the kitchen this afternoon when I said,
I’m going to the park!
To play basketball with Maggie. Back by 9.
(I wasn’t wearing sports clothes, and it’s almost December. Mama didn’t notice; her head is always in her textbooks on Saturdays.)
Oh? Well, have fun, love. And she went right back to her notes and to her practice tests, the timer still ticking beside her. She was agitated, twisting the thistle ring around her finger. Twist, twist, twist. And then – ding (the timer) and clang (the thistle ring against the linoleum), both at the same time.
She didn’t look at me when I walked out the door. Didn’t even look at my face to see if it was glass (it wasn’t). She only looked at her then-empty finger, the ring on the floor. The loudest silence. I’ve never seen Mama without that ring, and so I waited until she’d picked it up. Just to make sure she was okay. Just to make sure she was breathing again.
Just to make sure.
I walked all the way down the street, past the next one, and the next one too. Past the park and the schoolyard and the Virgin Mary (part of her shoulder was missing; I hadn’t noticed that before). But I couldn’t stop hearing that sound, Ding-clang! and I couldn’t stop seeing Mama’s face. Like nothing existed when that ring hit the floor, no oxygen without it. Like maybe, just maybe, she is glass after all, and if I’d stayed a second longer, I’d finally see past the skin and bone.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot – and about that ring too. That’s what’s been leading to Ingrid’s house these past four weeks, searching for Mama’s truth. I was sure (I’m still sure) that the answer to that ring is worth every lie I’ve saved for her. Ingrid will help me understand.
Nobody goes to Ingrid’s house. Nobody talks to her, either, though her name is whispered at school lunches, during parties. It’s only Mrs. Bath who goes to have her palms read. Everyone else claims she’s the devil. Maggie disagrees, says she’s witch. A good one, though – the kind that floats in bubbles and wears pink dresses.
Mostly, I think Ingrid is just lonely. Like Mama, like Daddy. Like me. She helps me so long as I water her plants and feed the cat. She forgets that kind of stuff. Her mind is never in that house.
She’s more like Mama than anyone I’ve ever met.
But Ingrid does know things, Diary. Sometimes she talks to empty rooms. Sometimes she sees things and she hears things, though she read my palm and saw nothing. She read my tarot, too, but the cards were too sticky and stubborn. (“Your fate is trapped behind two hundred years.” Whatever that means.)
But something happened yesterday. Finally.
We were sitting at the table, Fluffy full and the plants dripping. Ingrid’s arachnid fingers twitching, her eyes of tangled webs. I was thinking about Mama’s thistle ring, about Ding-clang!, when she grabbed my hand and said:
He misses you.
I looked up.
The Red Man.
The Red Man? Who’s that?
Ingrid shook her head, already so far away (further than the schoolyard’s Virgin Mary, past the park, and down the two streets to our red front door; further than Mama).
Mo nighean…, she said.
You know when you can feel a ghost? That tickle down your neck or that crawl up your spine? This wasn’t like that. It was living flesh and blood in Ingrid’s body, clawing its way out of her throat and into the room, to me. She sounded like a man.
I am here.
I love you.
Tell your mother that –
Tell your mother that –
Tell your mother that –
And that was it, Diary. Only I am here and I love you and Tell your mother that – So out of reach, just like Mama. But still, there was Ingrid: weeping and speaking in the dead-but-not-dead’s voice, spiders running through my hair, never telling me what it is that I should tell Mama.
I don’t remember what happened next. I didn’t know what I would say when I walked through our door, into our house and saw that face that could be stone or could be glass (Who are you, Mama?). And I didn’t know what I would do when I saw my face, so not like Mama’s and so not like not Daddy’s, in the mirror above my desk (Who am I, Mama?). But eventually I left. There wasn’t enough air in the room.
It was dark when I finally got home; Daddy’s car still gone, the kitchen light off. Mama was sleeping on the sofa, her curls tangled and her glasses crooked. When I saw her there, I wanted to ask,
Who is the Red Man, Mama?
Why does he miss me? And how does he love me?
But I didn’t. I couldn’t. (I am fourteen and still scared.)
Instead, I took her glasses off, knowing she’d crush them in her sleep (always tossing and turning, Mama). Her right hand was on her chest, the thistle ring where it always is. Keeping her here, if only a little. I reached down and traced the blooms on the band, trying to find the answers I don’t have to the questions I’m always too afraid to ask.
And then Mama woke up.
How was the park, sweetheart? she asked me. She tried to hide it, but I saw her smudged mascara. Ink smearing the page; unreadable. Did you have fun?
It was good. I won all three games of one-on-one.
That’s hardly fair. Maggie barely comes up to your waist! You’re ruthless.
Ha! Well, Daddy says loss builds character.
I regretted that immediately, because then Mama’s eyes fell to her fingers. I’d forgotten mine were there, pads still on the thistle ring. Mama smiled a not-quite smile, and I smiled a not-quite smile back. (I am here. I love you.)
Mama pulled my hand towards her, and she took off the ring, slid it onto my finger without another word. It was one size too big, so I had to hold it there, crushing the blooms against my palm. “Two hundred years” smearing the page; unreadable.
(I wonder if Mama knows I didn’t go to the park, or see Maggie, or do anything of the things I said I did. Maybe she’s been letting it go. Maybe she wants me to understand.)
(I’m afraid of questions, but maybe Mama is afraid of answers.)
I looked at the ring and then I looked at Mama, not sure what to do. But she was already fast asleep, the not-quite smile still on her face of glass, her face of stone.
What could I possibly tell you, Mama?
November 27, 1962 – 12:30AM
I crept downstairs and put the ring back on her finger. Just to make sure she was still okay. Just to make sure she was still breathing.
Just to make sure.