Web Pages referring to this page
Link to this page and get a link back!
Notes & Grace Notes
A short description about your blog
In the end, it all came down to a bus stop.
I was born at God's mercy.
It was a particularly turbulent night, June of 1636. My mother and father were just a few miles short of reaching home after a long day in town when Mother keeled over unexpectedly and let out a piercing shriek. The horses spooked and nearly overturned the cart, sending my mother flying nearly six feet. Everyone thought I was dead. Father ran for the midwife as Mother lay on the ground, crying to God to save her firstborn.
"It was nothing short of a miracle," Mary, my mother's housewife, always swore. "I took you for good and dead. But Goody Whittier wouldn't hear none of it. ‘God will save my child!' she kept screaming. I didn't want to look at you, lest I sees my fears be true. But you was alive, wailing louder than the thunder! You was born at God's mercy, Mercy Whittier, don't you ever forget."
As a child, I secretly despised the thought of being saved at God's mercy, as if I didn't deserve to live. Had I unknowingly committed such unforgivable sin, even before birth, that I was unwelcome in the world? Why had He chosen to save me?
"Of course He saved you," Mary chided when I confessed these thoughts to her in my youth. "You be the only child of Minister Whittier! I swear, there be no holier man than Minister Whittier in all of New England. God bless you, Miss Mercy, to be born with the name of Whittier."
But whether God blessed me or cursed me, I was never certain, as I realized from an early age that I was treated differently than the other children. Once, in a reckless childhood game, I was caught brandishing a stick at Leah Mason and severely punished by Brother Brotham. The sting of the red lashes across my back intensified, however, when I saw Brother Brotham look on in apathy as Elijah Hall continued the fight.
I was different in other ways, as well. It was around this time I began to hear things - unspoken voices that lurked in the shadows and spotlight alike in my everyday life. I realized that I had been hearing these silent utterings my whole life - I just hadn't yet learned to differentiate between what was spoken and what wasn't. The first time I was able to clearly discern between speech and thought was in a Sunday worship service just before my sixth year. Sarah Fiske, a sixteen-year-old girl seated beside me, nearly screamed at the pulpit, "Good God! When shall Minister Whittier relieve us of such unending repetition?"
Shocked at Sarah's outburst, I glanced at the other members of the church. Not one looked disturbed, enraged or even bothered. I glanced fearfully up at Sarah. Her thoughts continued, but her mouth never opened. It was then I realized that I could hear the feelings of her heart. Throughout her long winded nonverbal attack of my father's preaching, I discovered a talent that would easily condemn me in any colony.
Fearful that God's wrath had finally convicted Mercy Whittier, the child that deserved not to live, I struggled to oppress my abilities, certain I was in the Devil's legions. I spent many a fearful night pleading, begging, imploring God to forgive my wickedness and spare my life. It took years to become accustomed to my sinful skill, and to regard it as a gift, not a death sentence. Still, I took great pains to keep my malformed mind a furtive fact, knowing that if I was discovered, I would surely perish.
Eli McKinney felt the hard, brown earth underneath his fingers. He could see the clear horizon, just beyond. The brook - Eli's brook - babbled and gurgled as it carried itself further into the hills.
"This is the American dream."
In the deepest recesses of my heart, old memories are stored like forbidden Polaroids: my fifth birthday party (princess-themed), playing in a sand pit with some other grimy grade-schoolers, finger-painting in a bright classroom. A smiling blonde woman haunts the most intentionally forgotten of these images...brushing each other's hair, giggling while we eat ice cream, reading story books on a faded blue couch.
Ex post facto.
Regret, he said.
Polonius is ousted from the curtain.
Drip, drip, drip -- trickles to the floor.
Speak softly, no one listens.
I cry for your blessing, entrapped by contingency.
(It hurts, it hurts)
I had not thought inclination had undone so many.
"Leave me," I scream, my face in my hands.
Shh, shh, shh.
But you are there
Intoxicating, suffocating -- destroy me
(It hurts, it hurts)
I still feel it.
Release me, Father Time
Whatever my lot.
My lips form the words.
A syllable -- two, three;
Comfort in consonance.
You have taught me to speak;
I will be silent.
(It hurts, it hurts)
Teach me poise or poignancy
Summer's last song, meadowlark defeated
I drift into submission.
Elegy, come softly.
I have come undone.
Your donations will be contributed to the monthly prize pot!