September 14, 2012 by The Citron Review
We were back to country living. My mom couldn’t drive. My dad was a truck driver and was gone for months at a time. We moved to my great-grandfather’s house in the country and my mom couldn’t walk us to school anymore. I missed about three weeks of school because the bus didn’t come to our house. They said the bus was too big and our road was too small. But my sister and I still had to get to school so we walked the two miles between our house and the church where the bus turned around every morning.
Our neighbors lived in between our house and the church. The road flooded there in front of Bud and Mable’s house every time we had a hard rain. Floodwaters covered the road one day while we were at school. As usual, before we set out for home, my sister and I hung our jackets and book bags on Mom like a coat rack.
We walked until we saw water, everywhere, like an ocean dropped from the sky.
We just stopped and looked, not saying a word. Mom picked up my little sister and carried her like she was a baby, even though she was eight. I held Mom’s hand tight so I wouldn’t wash away like the branches floating all around us.
Water crept up my legs slowly as I walked, like a hunter stalking his prey. At its deepest, the water was a brown, wet blanket that pulled up tight to my chest. I looked to the hillside and saw Willy Wonka’s chocolate waterfall. Only it didn’t look so yummy now. Its lion roar deafened me as I tried to remember the words to the Candy Man song.
Lucy James writes from the rolling Appalachian foothills in Eastern Kentucky. Her poetry and short stories have previously appeared in The Truth Magazine, Gemini Magazine, and the anthology A Generation Defining Itself: Vol. 8.