Writing Clash


The bus was a gray swirl of inactivity.

Buildings flashed by as dark shadows until they grew further and further apart. Tennessee's sweeping hills made the road curve every way imagineable. Little Mary Lou clung to me and I felt obsessively protective in those quiet moments on the bus. She held my thumb with her entire hand. Her blonde curls were a mess, but I'd been too busy and distracted to bother with straightening them out. Ever since becoming Lou's legal gaurdian, things got responsible. There were no more late nights or neglecting the grocery. My free time was spent playing house mom. But these were the rewards of long years of struggle; I felt more at peace with myself than anything.

I suppose returning home just made things seem a bit nostalgic.

I'd put away my ipod long ago for favor of looking out the window seat and into the vast land of my home state. Home. That was such a fickle word. I didn't think of Nashville as my home anymore, not really. It would be even more different now that I was renting an apartment in the city and some other happy family was living in what was once my mother's house.

Fingers tightened on my thumb and I glanced down to see Lou rouse from a long nap. Her mouth opened and closed like a fish for a few moments as if she were still tired or confused. I bit my lip as I held back a smile and scooted closer to her.

"Lotte," she mumbled, blue eyes only slits. "Wh-what time is it?"

"I have no idea, darling, and it's probably best that way. I won't have to know how much sleep I missed when I go to work tomorrow morning." Mary Lou frowned but didn't say anything else. "Are you excited about our new apartment, Lou baby?" My voice seemed half unsure, probably because I didn't know if I was excited myself.

"Yeah." Was that what she thought she was supposed to say?

"You can tell me how you feel, sweetie."

She ripped her hand from mine and stuck her thumb in her mouth. I was about to scold her, but then thought twice. She could do what she wanted just this once. "I miss daddy."

Those words probably hurt me more than any others. I cringed but refused to become emotional now. I was a grown woman. "Yes, well, daddy is a bad man. He doesn't miss you very much, Lou."

We didn't speak at all after that. I felt cold now that Mary Lou had shifted away. And my eyes were like heavy pulled curtains. I hoped... desperately... that I was doing the right thing.

Only time would tell.