Four writers for the price of one blog
3 Letters and a Theft
A Daydream & Distraction by Redbud
August 8th 1924
I blush to consider ever writing a letter like this. You must promise me you will never share these letters. You have always been my dearest and most trusted confidant. I know that you will not judge me and I know you must wonder at what has happened to me. You surely must have heard rumers [sic] of the scandal surrounding my departure. Oh S., I regret none of it. I hope and pray and trust that you will understand. If only one soul sympathize, let that soul be yours.
As you know, Papa has always favored Mr. D., his hires and boys for the mowing. They are hard workers and never caused a stitch of trouble. You know all the unfortunate talk those boys have suffered, but Pappa has always been kind to them and Mr. D. And every summer I so looked forward to their company, especially J. We always played together. He was more fun than any of my girlfriend. Not you. You’re my dearest friend, but boys have their own special way of making fun. We climbed the highest trees, made hideaways in the hay bails, we played cowboy and Indian.
I wish that we had never played cowboys and Indians. I have never seen my Papa so red faced and speechless as the day he discovered me, hands tied behind my back and on my knees just like in the movies while J’s brother’s danced around me like savage Indians. Oh, you should have seen him. He was not violent in any way, but the boys stopped at once and Papa must have had a word with Mr. D. because the boys never again played anywhere near the barn or Cowboy and Indian. Thereafter, whenever the boys were at their leisure, which was not so often after all, there was always a chore Papa put me too.
I am no fool. When the second mowing came about, Papa saw to it that I had no time with the boys. I couldn’t hold it any longer. I wanted to know what I had done, or the boys. (But I didn’t tll [sic] him I especially missed seeing J.) He answered that if Mama were still alive I wouldn’t have had to ask. I had best stop acting like a girl. But that’s what I am, I said; and Papa’s face turned red as when he found me with the boys in the barn. He said I was no such thing any more. I was a young woman. Go look in the mirror; and if I was too fool to know it then he wasn’t and neither the boys.
And then I said to him, how does a young lady act?
Like she knows better than keep boys or men for company, he answered. Oh, S., you can imagine my surprise. I never saw Papa act like this. He is loved by anyone and everyone who knows him and never, in his life, so much as raised his voice. I said that if I was old enough to be a young lady then I was old enough to decide with whom to keep company. He reddened again and blurted: You know those boys – their mother – she was a nigger! You know that, do you? They’re all half-breeds.
And when did you care? Why – I answered him – you’re a minister! You have four color’ds [sic] – you have four colored families in your parish! You have never been anything but decent to them! He said: Colored with colored. They don’t live like us. They don’t want to. You see how those boys are treated. D. should have known better than marry that woman.
Marry? I said. You’ve gone mad!
And that was how we ended. But, in truth, I love Papa. I hardly saw Mr. D’s boys when they returned for the next mowing, making myself busy with whatever chores Papa doled out and some he didn’t. And I’m sure Mr. D and Papa must have exchanged words. They hardly spoke to each other, but stood together the way men do, never speaking a word. I think the boys did not miss me so much, but J. would come knock at the door, we would speak but never be out of Papa’s site for long. I longed to be outside with him. He smelled like the freshly cut field. I could feel the heat of the sun on his skin, the dust and see the chaff in his shirt and boots. Surely you remember J.? He has much taller, I’m sure, than you remember him and striking.
J. must have sensed how much I yearned to be anywhere other than where I was. I did a terrible thing. I went out at twilight having seen J. out my window. I as good as lied to Papa. I went out without telling him, but should I? Why was I suddenly a prisoner in my own house? I saw J. at the well to fetch water and I went out to meet him. Oh, S., he was so handsome. His shoulders have broadened. I know you wouldn’t recognize him.
I went out to him and called to him. He paid no attention to me. I went out in my breeches and riding boots. Papa detests these fashions. All the while I looked over my shoulder like a fox stealing through the chicken yard. J. paid no attention to me.
When I was almost beside him, he turned his back as though I didn’t exist. J! I cried. I’m not good for the minister’s daughter, he says without once looking at me. I wanted to say so many things, S., but nothing came out of my mouth. What could I say without scandalizing Papa? I should have spoken. I should have told him how I thought Papa was wrong, how he betrayed me and his dearest friend, and even his ministry. Instead, I was furious that he thought I would ever think such things.
The things we say, S.. Oh S., the things we say when we don’t really mean them, when we say things just to hurt as much as we’ve been hurt. Papa was right about you! I blurted. You’re nothing like us. You just go. You go! I said. J. turned on me. Say it! he said. Say what you’re thinking. That your Mama was a nigger? I said. Is that what you mean? I know all about that! Oh, if you could have seen his face. He lifted his arm to slap me but some better angel stopped him, and stopped me. He turned his back on me and I so bitterly wanted to call to him, to apologize, to take every last word of it back. But I didn’t want him to see me. We women are too proud sometimes.
But if that is all that happened I would hardly need to write you, terrible though that is. I could tell you that I was ashamed of myself, but haven’t we all, in our lives, acted stupidly? First, you may not remember that my bedroom is next to Papa’s, that it was a warm August night and both our doors were cracked to let the breeze through. I went to bed with only a shift. So imagine my shock when I hear the heavy footsteps of a man. I thought it must be Papa, but it was J.!
He put his fingers to his lips. I didn’t move or dare to speak a word. If Papa knew! I lay on my belly, my face turned to him. He sat on the edge of the bed. He must have seen in my eyes that I wouldn’t betray him. He placed his large hand at the nape of my neck. I smelled him. Oh, S., the smell of a man who has been at the work in the sun. His finger tips moved to the wetness of my cheek. He smiled before his lips touched mine. We kissed and our kiss was nothing like the kiss of new lovers. How often had we played together over the years? Every summer!
His kiss gentle, but his demeanor changed. He sat up and pressed me into the pillow by the nape of the neck. He yanked off the thin sheet that covered me and pulled up the shift that covered my hips and back. I darn’t move or even speak. He touched me with his free hand. He followed my legs and my hips. I guess you will ask why I didn’t scream. No. I wanted him to touch me. I wanted to feel of his rough skin on mine. Then he struck my buttocks with such a blow that I almost cried out. I begged him with a look. What if Papa heard? He struck my buttocks again. I twisted and squirmed. I wanted to yell but didn’t. I only moved as much as made me arch and hold tight to the top of the mattress. He punished me and (oh, to be forgiven) I accepted it. When his hand moved between my thighs, I nearly fainted.
He began my torment. He still held me tightly by the neck, cheek to the pillow. He touched and stroked me. He made love to me with his touch, not in the old fashioned way, but in the way we mean it now. I could hardly breathe. I bit the pillow. I held it between my teeth. He struck my buttocks again and this time I couldn’t have told you whither [sic] it was pain or pleasure. I burned in so many places – my buttocks, my thighs, my nipples, my belly. Every part of me was wound as tight as twine. Oh, I should have stopped him, S., and yet the more he touched me, the more I wanted to be touched. The pleasure!
And then I could say or do nothing as a strange convulsion lifted my hips and belly off the bed, as if some muscle in my womb had been strained to the breaking point. He let go of me. I stared blankly at the headboard, obscenely displayed, but a strange malaise robbed me of any wish to move.
He stood. Only when he unzipped his trousers and released his manhood could I think again. I had never seen a man in this condition, though I’d heard it described by other girls. He didn’t give me time to think. He pulled me off the bed and to my knees, not more than a step from my open door and another several to Papa’s. My mouth was open with shock and surprise. I gazed up at him and then – I am almost too ashamed to write it – his manhood filled my mouth.
The taste of him! The smell of him! I coughed but the feel and his shape, so foreign and yet so intimate. I burned. I burned in places I can’t describe; but you you must know. I wouldn’t dare write that to anyone but you. Did he think he was humiliating me? Did he think he was abasing me after my awful comment, hauling me to my knees and forcing himself into my mouth? Did he think he was teaching me my place. No. I heard the struggle in his own breath. I felt his heavy muscles stiffen like mine. When his hands encouraged rather than held, nothing could have taken him from my mouth.
If Papa had walked into my bedroom, I wouldn’t have budged. I meant to give him the pleasure he’d given me. I wanted it to be ten times what I had I felt. I wanted him to forget everything but me. I felt him stiffen just like I had. I held him. I wouldn’t let him go. I locked my arms around his hips and nearly choked when his own convulsions filled my mouth with fluid. My lover burst and I swallowed. He twisted and shuddered and I wouldn’t let him go. I wanted to feel every twitch of his pleasure. I wanted to taste each pulse.
He finally pushed me away and lifted me. I can’t describe the fierceness with which we kissed. He let go of me as unwillingly as I let go of him.
Oh S. And now he is all that I think about. There is not a minute goes by that I don’t yearn for him. And yet I can hardly look Papa in the eye. He has only to stretch or yawn and I tremble. The mowing is done and J., his brothers, hires and father have gone to the next field. Papa tells me Mr R., within a week’s time, will have delivery of one of Mr. Ford’s new tractors. I think that Papa must suspect us. He promises that we shall have a tractor by summer’s end, if he has his way, and do without Mr D., but I think this is all just talk.
J. still comes around, and Papa is polite, but our familiarity must be obvious.
Oh S., I don’t know what I’ll do if I can’t see J.. Tell me I haven’t made a mortal mistake. I don’t care who is mother is or what her color. I don’t ever want to hear that word again. That word! I won’t even write it. It’s a horrible word.
If you write to me, pretend that we are discussing a friend. I am so afraid of Papa. If he happened to find one of your letters, I’m sure I would never see J. again. But please write back to me. Please tell me what to do.
☼ William Crimson February 29 2012