The Day My Mom Threw A Bike
This short is based on actual events. In the process of me trying to figure out how to tell my story, I have tried different ways of finding my voice. Not always an easy thing to do and I think I have decided that I am just going to tell it rather than try to write creatively about it, however this story short was my attempt at a different way of writing about something that happened when I was a kid.
Sit back and let me set the scene for you. It is a beautiful summer day. The sky a brilliant blue spotted with the occasional white fluffy cloud. The sun shining down bathing the world in its worm golden glory.
We are sitting on a porch in a small mill town drinking sun tea with lime, mulling over the condensation running down the side of the glass. The sounds of summer float lazily around us. Children laughing and squealing. The occasional dog barking, the loud ring from a telephone floating out of an open window.
Across the street is an old field surrounded by a silver wire fence. As we take another sip of our ice cold sun tea with lemons, we see a woman walking with a little girl in tow. At first they do not register. A mother and daughter out and about is hardly anything novel. It is not until the woman grabs the little girl and throws her down into the ditch that runs parallel to the fence that we take note.
Not sure what shenanigans are afoot, we sit a little straighter in our rocking chair. The mother, a slightly overweight woman with scraggily hair suddenly turns and looks down the street. The little girl is huddled in the ditch, we can see the top of her head peeking out. She too looks down the street.
Following their gaze, we see another little girl riding a bike. She is heading towards the woman. We sit back and watch, unsure what is about to happen but knowing something is.
The woman starts to yell, we can not hear exactly what she is saying but we hear an occasional word, “God, Sinner and Punishment” make the distance to us. The little girl on the bike looks up and sees the woman but it is too late.
The woman grabs the big, stopping the girl. She forces the girl off the bike, yelling at her the whole time. We watch in awe and disbelief as the woman picks up the bike and throws it into the street and then turns on the girl.
Still yelling, she grabs the girl by the shirt and pulls her close. We can not hear what she is saying but we can see the look on the little girls face. Panic and fear are plain as day even from this distance. Or perhaps we are projecting our own feelings onto the little girl.
We watch in horror as the woman raises her hand. Our iced tea falls to the porch as in slow motion the woman’s had comes crashing down and connects with the little girls face. “Call the Police Martha.” We say to our sister as we begin walking to the woman and children.
“Hey!” We yell as we hurry as quickly as our arthritic legs will allow. “What the are you doing?” The woman turns and in her distraction the young girl finds escape. She twists out of her grasp and runs towards us, tears streaming down her face.
The woman yells, “All of you sinners will go to hell!” she turns to look at the little head full of brown hair peeking up from the ditch, “Jessica Lynn you get up here now!” Up pops a little dirty face, wet with tears.
At this point we stop, unwilling to get closer to the crazed woman, we hold a crying girl in our arms and watch as the woman drags the little bedraggled girl away. Martha comes up behind us. “The police are on their way.” she says softly as we watch them walk away. The last we see is the little girl, straining against the woman’s grasp, turning to look at us with big brown eyes filled with fear, then they turn the corner and are gone. Perhaps it is time for a stronger drink.
As her mother drags her away from the old women, Jessie struggles with her, turning to look one last time, begging them with her eyes, “Please help.” But she is not surprised when they just stand there, one of them hugging the little girl mommy hit. No one ever helps. Her mother yanks on her arm and Jessie can hear her muttering to herself. She is always afraid to look at her when she gets like this because her eyes are dark and mean and not like her mommy at all. It is the mommy monster she is with now and she knows that she has to be perfect and quiet like a mouse because if she says or does anything her mommy will hit her and when she cries she will say “If you don’t stop crying I will really give you something to cry about!” but she wont be able to stop because it hurts and she is scared.
Her mother stopped on a street corner and begins yelling about God and Damnation. Jessie shrinks inside of herself as her mother yells. She stands obediently beside her and watches as people look at them in disgust. She knows none of them will help so she begins to imagine a world where her mommy is not sick and she never hits her and where her sisters and brothers live with them and she has a daddy and a dog. As her mother yells and spits at passersby, Jessie surrounds herself with this bubble filled with this happy world.
Suddenly, her mother stops yelling. She grabs Jesse’s hand and pulls her across the street. She is running and Jessie struggles to keep from falling. She trips over the curb and falls scraping her knee but her mother just forces her up and continues running. “Hurry Jessie, the devil is after us!” she breaths as they run through the streets. The reach a park and her mother pulls her down on the grass. “See?” she says pointing to the right. Jessie looks but she does not see anything. The world looks normal to her. “We have to stay here, he won’t get us here.” she says, her breath coming in gasps.
Jessie looks, trying to see what has her mother scared. All she sees is the grass they are laying on, the trees and the street. Suddenly her mother panics, jumps up and starts yelling and Jessie can not see at who. She curls up into a ball and closes her eyes. There is another voice, calm and masculine talking to her mother. Is that the Devil? Her eyes hurt from crying and her nose is running.
A hand touches her shoulder and she twitches, trying to become invisible. “It’s ok. I am not going to hurt you.” a warm voice says softly to her back. “My name is Officer Tom. What’s your name?” Slowly, she looks up and sees a kind face. She can tell he is not a monster. “Jessie” she whispers. Almost surprised he can see her. “Well, Jessie, nice to meet you. We are going to go for a ride now. Ok?” he asks as he helps her up. “Mommy?” she whispers. “She is going to come too.” he says, as he takes her hand. His hand is so big and dry. He is gentle as her walks her to the police car. She is surprised to see it. It is as if it just appeared out of nowhere with Officer Tom.
Her mother is in the back seat, her hands behind her back and as Jessie sits down next to her, her mother ignores her. She looks straight ahead, all the while muttering to herself. Jessie watches as Officer Tom gets into the car. he talks into his radio and then he begins to drive.
When they stop, Officer Tom gets out and talks to another policeman. They look at the car, at Jessie and then her mother is taken away. Jessie looks at the seat where her mother just sat and it is wet and brown. She stares at this trying to understand why that would be. Officer Tom opens her door and peers in, she watches him notice the stain, he then turns to her, smiles and says, “I bet you are hungry”. Taking her hand, he leads her away from the car.