Kalifa’s first story for NITH is a great addition to the COMFORTABLY ANON short list. A small window into the life of ‘Shanon’, who has just left hospital but seems desperate to avoid her family at all costs. Enjoy the story after the jump.
Shanon // A Short Story by Kalifa Grace
Nancy doesn’t ask where she was taking me, or how I was feeling.
Nope. She just pulls out of the loop and onto the highway. At the first set of lights she reaches into the back seat, grabs a white paper bag and says “I got you donuts.”
Nancy shrugs. “Krunchy Kool’s,” she says. “Farmers closed down.”
“Damn.” The bag is greasy and the donuts not even warm, but I’m grateful.
“You want one?” I ask. There are six donuts in total.
“I’m a tiger Shanon,” Nancy says, smiling. Tigers hate cinnamon.”
All cinnamon, all mine.
We drive past my house and round the block. Nancy pulls over out the front of Old Lady WIlbourne’s place.
“You want I come with you?” she said. The car was still running.
“I can run interference.”
I get out of the car and lean in through the open window. “Don’t worry. I’ll be five minutes.”
At the back of Old Lady Wilbourne’s place I push open the wood paling and sneak through to my backyard, (the months in the hospital had done wonders for my hips). Deacon’s tricycle is there, faded like it hadn’t moved in half a year. He would have started school last month. But then I didn’t know if he and Betty were still around.
The blinds to the back window are shut. I can hear the TV going inside. Sports. That might have meant someone was home. It also might not.
The screen was open and the wood door unlocked. It creaks but I go in quietly, tiptoe up the stairs to my room and open the door. Then I knew Betty was till around.
There were heaps of clothes piled on the bed. My bed.
Betty’s clothes. Deacon’s. Dad’s.
Over there is the vacuum cleaner sitting open on the floor with no bag in it. Betty has moved her easel in as well and there were some paintings stacked against my desk. They were things like vases with pretty flowers and ducks in a pond or rubber duckies on a bathtub. She signed them all “B.T” for Betty Trimble and I don’t know if I hate it because she has my Father’s surname or because I do.
I hear Betty’s voice in my head. “I just want it to look as real as possible.”
I looked at some of Betty’s paintings and decided they are still shit.
I pull out my duffle from beneath the bed and pack as much as my stuff as I can. On top of the clean clothes that weren’t mine is an old Hawaiian Sunset tshirt my mother had got Dad maybe a year before she died. I take it as well. On my way downstairs I catch a glimpse of him on the couch and I freeze, but he is asleep or passed out or something.
For whatever reason, I dunno why, I go back upstairs. I wet the first brush I can find and just start painting and I’m only a few minutes in when I realise just how hard it is. When I’m finished it looks like a buch of blobs and squiggles. But I know what it is. It’s how I feel. It’s me.
I sign it. F U.