Marlene had once dreamed she was Queen of the Stars.
Now she absently turns her greasy gin cup, swirling memories of bar stories lost, she feels sort of lonely, she feels that if she could have done as only God could, as she sits on her barstool, greasy glass beckoning, but the prayers she once prayed aren’t received into Heaven, and she looks ’round for someone with faint recognition, but the flowers inside have died in felled rain, heartlessly tempered by scourge of the faithful. In ruins of the heart lies no sweetness relief.
She remembers her sister, remembers her mother, remembers the stench of her mother’s last lover. He had been such a captain with golden-like ribbons, took her last rumpled chastity ever thus ridden, and the rutting and sweating and pounding he gave her – she thought she had liked it, the roughness, and pale, blonde soft beard against her neck – now she smiled just a lip-turn at fate she had given to this motherless bastard who’d been so secure. To this fatherless rapist she had endured – now she sits with her gin glass as smile creeps upon her, she’s ready for judgement, redemption secure.
Marlene sips her gin, leaving just a swig in the cup bottom, swirling around like a murky reminder of the day that the dust-soaked street whispers had blanked her last vestige of innocence. Those guys in the little kitchen, sitting around mom’s wooden table on the folding chairs, glasses and bottle on the cheap flowered tablecloth, unkempt in their uniforms, bolstered and unshaven, patting their buttoned bellies … and her little sister too.
That had been a bad beginning to a bad day. And she wished she could forget all that. But now as she sits on her worn wooden stool, remembering how she had taken the luger from her mother’s bedside table, and somehow, with some pretty fine aim, blew it all up. And how her mother had just started cleaning the blood and brains off the cheap tablecloth like spilled gravy. And how her little sister had only mouthed “Thanks, Marlene.”
Bodies can be gotten rid of easily enough – the street and the blood and the mud took them in. They were heavy, it was tiring to move them down there, but the neighbors said nothing and the police asked their questions and nobody bothered much more – it was that kind of time in the war.
Marlene looks down to her swirling gin, fingers shaking, perhaps a bit of sweat on her brow, smooths her hair and orders another cup.
Hummingbirds don’t land in every yard, forsaken flowers don’t spring blooms. Where flowers don’t bloom flit no hummingbirds, and life is a saddening, bleakened tomb.
She dreams in soft silver and moonlight reflections … she dreams heretofore of shattered replete as blood-saken memories die at her feet.
Another gin. Same greasy cup. Cheap as it is, she cannot get enough.
They will come for her surely as they once had for the yellow-stars.
Marlene’s hard-fought story is not hard to tell, but the difficult part in her lingering tell is absorbing her feelings and places she walks and the pain she endures and the end that is not how we comfort our children in hope or regret as the noose slowly tightens ’round sweet Marlene’s neck.