This tale is my entry to this month's Wordsmiths exercise. The groans emanating from the bedroom, slicing into the serenity of Justine’s early morning ritual signaled the return of Rachel’s nightmares. Experience and the memory of a painfully bloody nose kept Justine from making her way to the bedroom. It was too soon. She must wait.
Justine does move to pour another cup of coffee. The steamy aroma taking her back to a similar morning eight months ago. She dropped a cup of coffee then, running full out to Rachel’s side the very first time she’d heard those groans.
Having cleaned up and settled down after being pummeled about the head and face when trying to rouse Rachel, Justine wanted to know if Rachel wanted to tell. Rachel didn’t want, but she did tell some.
“I was seven and my brothers were six and five. Mama’s friend, Papa Jack announced he was taking us to the carnival. Mama was working, so she didn’t go. We left in Papa Jack’s green truck and arrived at the carnival about 30 minutes later. It was cold. Too cold to be at the carnival, I thought. Other people must’ve thought so too, because there weren’t many people there. We jumped from the truck and half walked, half jogged about, unable to decide what to get on first. We were so excited. Papa Jack eventually suggested the Ferris wheel. Mama hadn’t let us try that ride before so we ran to go do that. Papa Jack paid the fee and the man operating the ride strapped us into baskets. I got to sit alone, since I was the biggest and oldest. It was the most exciting thing I’d ever done. I loved being up at top, being able to see the whole world. The boys weren’t even scared when it stopped and left us hanging in the air. Soon it was our turn to get off. The boys got off first and stayed together until I got down. I looked around for Papa Jack and didn’t see him anywhere. I called for him but he didn’t answer. The boys called and still nothing. The ride operator asked me if anything was wrong and I told him we couldn’t find our Papa Jack. He closed the ride and took us to an office. We sat for a long, long time with many grown-ups asking us our names and other questions. The boys started to cry. The carnival people gave us hot chocolate and peanuts. Sometime later the police came. We left with the police. “
It took a long time but Justine was finally able to get this part of the story from Rachel. The nightmares started two years after she left foster care. There is more, but Rachel won’t say. Though Justine has tried to find out what triggers the nightmares, more importantly she has had to learn how to soothe.
The coffee is nearly finished, soon it will be time to go to Rachel and hold her close