Closest to My Heart - Juliet Jackson
After becoming blind in her twenties, Juliet started listening to a lot of talking books. This sparked an interest in creative writing. The extract below was written on Deborah’s new course, ‘A Journal Workshop.’
So, we sit on the floor of the lounge, and I listen to The Giver, and Skye passes me a toy and I pass it back and she laughs. I turn off the talking book, and carry her into the kitchen and put her in her high chair. ‘Mum’ she says, and I am pretty happy about that, because it was her first word, and I did make sure of it.
Then I pass her her sipper cup of orange juice, and she tips it over, and I must have not put the lid on properly and Skye says ‘Fuck,’ and my eyebrows go through the top of the ceiling and I think, how did she know to say that, and in the perfect context, and I have a hunch, and I’d rather not, and wonder whether to laugh or cry, and then wonder what to say if she says it in front of my father-in-law Mac. If only Skye’s Dad was still alive he’d know what to do. I pick her up and orange juice is all down her jump suit, and soaking into her nappy, which probably is damp from other things, so I make my way back into the lounge, and am thinking she might be upset, about not getting her juice, but instead she starts laughing.
‘Tickle,’ says Skye, and I think, when did she learn that? I lay her on a changing mat, and I take off all the clothes, and put them in a pile. She kicks her tiny legs and says ‘Mum’ again. Then the phone goes and I carry Skye, naked to the phone. It’s Dad.
‘I need some money,’ he says.
‘But, how can I get it to you?’ I ask.
‘Don’t know,’ says Dad. ‘I need it, though, or I’ll have to eat the grass’.
I think he must be drunk, but I don’t say anything. It’s not even eleven in the morning.
‘Dad,’ I say, ‘you have to tell me how I can get it to you, or I will…’
Dee, dee, dee, says Skye, and Dad says, did she say Dad?
I say,’ God, I don’t know,’ and my voice cracks. My eyes fill. ‘don’t know.’ I hang up. I go back into the lounge, and wonder where the heck I put the clean nappy I was just about to put on Skye. It was right there, and now it isn’t.
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