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: A broken heart in need of mending - archives

Black Roots, Red Heart
Bonnie Nish

Her black roots expose how little she can afford herself. She must keep up the appearance of being happy at all costs and it may mean losing a lot in the end.


Her heart literary. But for now be happy to know she is coping. A few frayed edges but nothing too serious.
In a month though it will be a different matter. Black roots are taking over, hair remains unstyled, dress stained where she dropped the melting butter at lunch. The dog needs grooming, the kids need managing and the mail is stuffed into a big brown envelope that she has shoved behind the coach unopened. Dinners are late, bath times skipped and bedtimes are whenever she notices you wandering around.

The neighbours are beginning to complain about garbage pick up being missed, rats nesting in the yard have picked their house to infiltrate and crows drop remnants all over the back lawn. She hangs up on them.

Mornings are the worst. She rises late, showers then gets everyone else up. Bananas for breakfast, bagels with cream cheese thrown into brown paper bags for lunches. Healthier than chocolate spread she reasons. She pushes everyone out of the door, everything into the dishwasher and then walks the dog to the corner and back. This week she still gets to the grocery store, the library and the cleaners. Next week she will just come home and go straight to bed until three when the kids arrive.

She is falling apart week by week and there is no one to stop her. She will have a bag of chips for dinner in bed while the kids fight over Cheezies and the converter and the dog howls to be let in. It all seems so hopeless.

Stop picture. She is at the corner waiting for the dog to finish its business. "Crap," she thinks when out of the corner of her eye she notices him. He stands across the street. She turns her back. He approaches.
"Hi. I’m your new neighbour. Mike. Mike Jones." He extends his hand.
She raises her eyebrows. "Don’t care" she shrugs.
He continues as though she said nothing. "I live two doors down."
She turns to face him. His is handsome in a nine-to-five, stop the presses sort of way.
"I’m married," she growls at him.
"That’s nice," he causally responds.
"Is it?" she snaps.
"Isn’t it?" he asks.
"Oh I don’t know. When your husband leaves you for the weekend with his best friend and you realize it was your best friend and they have packed the safe and the skis and they are not coming back, is it?"
He moves back a step.
"Sorry," he quietly sighs.
"Yeah well I’m still married," she hisses.
"Right," he smiles.
She turns away and runs home.

Fast-forward three weeks. Everyday for the last three weeks she has been walking the dog to the corner. Each day she goes a little further in her conversation.

Today she is dressed in pressed jeans, a clean top, her black roots gone and her blonde hair drips like silken candle wax down her back. Mike brings her daisies. She presses them in an old book. Today he has a balloon. It is a red heart. She can’t press that but it is thoughtful. She is thankful.

© Bonnie Nish Feb 14th 2004
Bonnie runs The Twisted Poets open-mike night in Vancouver BC when permitted

A Poetic Nightmare


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