For Sample Sunday – Excerpt from Anne McGinnis – work in progress.
Thanks for reading!
The sun was creeping over the tops of the hills. She called them mountains because she’d never seen mountains. Everything was cloaked in the bright golden light of sunrise. Ordinary things looked magnificent, rich, and ornate. She thought maybe the light made even her look that way. She wanted to capture that light, bathe in it, wrap it around her, and wear it around town. She wanted people to see her as beautiful, to see her in the same way she saw the rolling hills and the run down, wooden plank board house right now in the light from the sunrise. She was just like that old, paint chipped two-room house. It contained every living person in her family. She was just like that run down building. She might look almost pretty in the right light, but she really wasn’t pretty at all. And, just like the house, she was stuffed to overflowing with disagreeable personalities. Everything she found in her family, the stupidity, the hate for each other and outsiders, the fighting, the discontentment, she found all of this within herself.
Last night, she lay on a mat on the dusty wooden floor next to one of her six brothers. She decided she was leaving. She couldn’t stay. She didn’t think she would be able to take in one more breath of air if she was going to stay. She would just stop breathing. She didn’t have to worry about packing anything. She could wear everything she owned and still have lots of skin left over. She was planning her escape while the rest of her family slept. Her plans were constantly interrupted by the battling sounds of snoring and coughing and wheezing. Her six brothers, her mom, her dad, and her grandmother all snorted and hacked in succession. If they all could have done it at the same time, maybe it would’ve been bearable. But, there was never one moment of quiet. The little house seemed to shudder from all of the noise. The house looked tired. It slumped and sagged and creaked and wheezed. She had to keep starting her great plan of escape over and over.
She would get up very early, before the sun was up. She would put on her few decent clothes and sneak quietly out the door. Then, she’d run. She’d run over the hills she thought were mountains. She’d run along the railroad tracks until she reached town. But, that’s where the plan stopped. What would she do then? Where could she go? She’d have to find some work somewhere pretty quickly. She could do laundry. She could clean. She could tend people’s gardens. Where would she live? She had no family to turn to, and she wouldn’t go to them even if she did. She’d have to find a job for room and board. What if she hopped a train in town? What if she went somewhere else? What if she went to a town where people didn’t look at her and think, “oh, there’s that white trash girl, that Anne McGinnis. You know her family. They’re all just poor, dumb, white trash.” No, people wouldn’t know her or her family. She could be somewhere else. She could be someone else. She could be a clean person. She wouldn’t have to smell like pee anymore, because she wouldn’t be sleeping on the floor with two of her brothers who peed in their sleep. Her face wouldn’t be covered in dirt and sweat. She could get decent clothes, female clothes, instead of patched and hemmed pants and shirts handed down from her older brothers. She was leaving. She was getting out of this house and getting away from the family she despised. She had to.
Thanks for reading 🙂