By on May 17, 2015 in Cuttings, Fiction

Two eggs in a blue nest

Babies know when they come out unwanted. I did. I was born with a hole right inside my heart and spent too many years tryin’ to fill a space that didn’t want to be filled. I never knew the empty could be so heavy. Daddy already flew away by then, and Momma didn’t care enough to use her own healin’ touch. She shoved me off on Rayanne, who never wanted me anyhow.

We lived down a long, dirt road and out past a barn older than my Momma. She told me once that she kissed a boy in the hay field down the way. She said he smelled like fresh dirt and had a freckle by his left ear. She’d never a seen a wayward freckle like that, so she decided to kiss him. Her daddy saw them from the house and when they made it back he took a switch to the both of ‘em. After that, she did her kissin’ in that old barn as the good Lord intended.

That’s how she ended up with Rayanne.

She didn’t give me many of her memories, so I tried to hold on to every word. Mama preferred her stories on the TV. She liked her special drinks and her nerve pills. She’d take ‘em whenever she was blue. That’s what she called it. I didn’t know what made Momma so unhappy. My sister was never home, so it must’ve been me.

Rayanne never liked either of us, really. She had long, black hair like Momma did in her old pictures. I had blond hair. Rayanne would tease me and say that I couldn’t be her sister, that I must’a come from the dog next door. Momma told me that when Rayanne found out she was havin’ a little sister and cried for a week.

“Fonda,” Momma laughed, “Rayanne would’ve traded you for some turnip greens if I’d ‘ve let ‘er. Hell, she probly still would.”

I always laughed when Momma laughed. It was the only thing we shared.

Rayanne didn’t laugh with us. My big sister was in charge of makin’ sure I was fed and washed. If I didn’t do what she said fast enough, she got mad as a swatted bee and pushed me down. I remember the day she bleached her hair to look like Farrah Fawcett. Only her hair wasn’t like any lady on TV. It was orange. I told her as much, and she hit me with a briar switch. Momma never noticed.

Once Rayanne was allowed to go off with boys, I didn’t see her much. Momma was sleepin’ all the time. I think I was 9 then. I don’t really know. I never thought to ask about my birthday. When I was a few years older, I bled like a woman. Rayanne threw a lady pad at me as she walked out the door and told me to stay away from her boyfriend. Momma was asleep again.

That’s when I started takin’ walks at night.

I’d walk out to that old barn in the dark and imagine my momma, young and pretty, kissin’ that freckled boy. It smelled like summer and chicken wire, and I laid down in the hay and pretended to have my own boy. All I really wanted was to have somebody close enough so’s I could feel somethin’ warm that wasn’t my ownself.

I remember the night I found the nest with the blue eggs.

That’s how I met Harlan. He’d lost one of his daddy’s chickens. His eyes were as green as a juniper tree. He told me I was pretty, and my skin glowed white in the moonlight. I liked the way his hair ruffled around his ears and the sound he made when saw the nest. Harlan said his chicken was Americana. I thought that’s what he named her, but he laughed at me.

We met every day for a month before I kissed him. He laid down on me for the next week or so, then never came back. I can’t say as I blame him much. It hurt when he laid down on me, and I cried. It had to be my fault.

Two months after that is when I felt the pain in my stomach and the blood ran down my legs. I felt an ache in my chest, and I didn’t know why. It was heavy and if I leaned over too far to one side, it lobbed right over like a loose egg. I looked at the blood that ran like yolk.

Momma was asleep again.

I wandered out to the yard and saw Rayanne kissin’ on a boy with eyes like a juniper tree. That’s all I can recall about that.

A few years later Momma took a man for a few months. He looked at me in the same way he looked at Momma. He laid on me like Harlan did. I didn’t come home too much after that. Momma sent him on and went back to sleep.

I kept myself to myself. I’d found a chicken and kept it in the barn. She was sweet and laid little blue eggs. None of them hatched, though. She was broken like me. I named her America.

One day I came home after school and saw Momma’s pills spilt all over her night gown. I picked each one of ‘em up while she slept and put the bottle in my pocket. I covered her with the afghan. She seemed still and cold.

I knew that Momma was dead. She had her reasons to go. She probably went to find that freckled boy who didn’t bleed down his legs. We hadn’t seen Rayanne for over a year after she stole Momma’s gold jewelry and ran away. My sister escaped us. Momma escaped me. I stood there and felt the pills in my pocket.

All my momma had in the end was me, and I reminded her too much of things she didn’t want.

Sometimes a hole is too heavy.

Sometimes the loneliness wanders away with you. At least, that’s what I told my baby girl.


A.D. Sams is definitely a writer of southern fiction, probably a writer of dark, twisty things, and maybe a writer who hasn't quite decided where to hide the bodies. All of that is, of course, speculation. Or is it? She lives in west Georgia with her dog, Sherwood (a half-Newfoundland mutt who believes he’s part bunny and part balloon animal) and a very healthy Imagination, which she keeps in an igloo in the back yard.