Sunday, February 9, 2014

Creative Writing

There are many crazy things I do to fill my free time, but writing about home is my favorite.  Hope you all get a little taste of cajun love from this short story...  :)


Hot Air
Mamaw and Bijou set off to discover the bluff behind the fields.  The cotton was taller that Sunday, and the air was heavy.  The trapped moisture seemed to combat the gusts from a warm breeze - creating a harmonious hum through the uniformed rows.  Neither Mamaw nor Bijou knew the specifics to the farm’s depth, and they had little confidence in its stability.  That was Papaw’s thing.  He kept the farm intact while the rest of the world sat back and wondered where cotton balls came from. 
“You find that balloon?”
“Yes, I have it.”
“You packed dat string?”
“Yes, Mamaw.”
“You sure you packed dat string?  Dat’s the most important part.”
“Yes, Papaw cut the string.” 
“What a pauvre bête.”
“But I love him all the same.” 
“Why do you need a balloon?”
“We need it, Bijou.”  You gonna see when you’re meant to.”
Bijou carefully walked through the rows, while Mamaw barreled through with an obvious intent to escape the grid.
“Watch your step, Mamaw.  That’s the new row!”
“Oh sha!  If those seeds can’t handle a lil’ pressure now, dey sure gonna die when dey sprout.”
“Well, there’s no need to make it harder for them, or Papaw.  You know he gets pissy if the rows aren’t even.”
“Co faire?”
“He says it takes away from the natural beauty.”
“Natural?  Mais, jamiais d’la vie! Dis ain’t natural.  He planted it!”
“Papaw says he just plants what the good lord intended.”
“Go to bed!  He don’t know nothing!”
Bijou walked further into the fields.  She was not much for exploration, but the rows of cotton created an easy path for her limited hiking skills.  Mamaw continued forming her own row, bewildering Bijou to her core.  Bijou hollered through the sticky air, “Mamaw, do you ever wonder if the cotton would grow better in another pattern?”
“I wonder that all the time.”
“Why doesn’t Papaw ever try it?”
“He sticks to what he knows, sha.  Just like a pauvre bête.  His daddy thought him about farming cotton rows, and he don’t like the idea of backsliding from dat.  Ya know, Bijou, it’s fine letting your elders show you the ropes, but sometimes you gotta make your own knot.  I’ve never been one for cotton rows.”
“Maybe they need the close formation for survival, Mamaw. Do you think that helps them grow taller?”
“Nah, sha.  It’s nothing about dat.”
“But Papaw says they’re a congregation.”
“Well, now!  Just because a measly little sprig of cotton stands amongst a row of sprigs doesn’t mean that cotton is any stronger.  It just has a better hiding place.”
“But I think they need each other.  Don’t you?”
“No, Bijou.  Dey gotta make their own roots.  Dat’s the only way to really survive.  Dat’s why Papaw sticks with the rows.  He got his roots tangled up with his daddy’s, and now he’s too afraid that ole’ man was right.”
“What if he was?”
“Den I guess Papaw will be happy.”
“And what if he was wrong?”
“Den Papaw won’t know a difference.”
“But Papaw said the rows were sacred.  He said cotton was a Eunice family tradition.”
“Well, dat’s what Papaw believes.”
“What do you believe?”
Mamaw didn’t answer Bijou.  Instead she started chanting her favorite Doris Day tune, “Que Sera, Sera… whatever will be, will be…”
Bijou was lost in the cotton field motif – not listening to Mamaw’s casual reasoning.  Mamaw mumbled to herself, “She gonna hear it when she needs to.”  Then, she bellowed, “Bijou, we’re almost there!  Come over to da bluff!”  The vibrations from her voice shook the fragile cotton pods that sat flimsily on top of the tall stalks.  Bijou followed Mamaw’s robust path across the cotton rows.
“I know Papaw talks a lot about the cotton fields and these rows, but what Papaw doesn’t tell you is that you have control in that cotton’s growth too.”
Mamaw motioned for Bijou to pass the balloon and string.  She blew a strong, powerful breath into the nylon sack until it slowly grew to life.  Then, she tied it off tight and attached the polka dotted string Papaw cut for them.
“You have da power to make a difference.  You don’t have to wait for no saving grace.  I don’t want you holding on to Papaw’s small town glory.  He’s a good man, but he don’t want nothing more than these here rows.  I know you got more than that in you.”
Bijou beamed at her Mamaw as they walked closer to the edge of the bluff.  Once they grew nearer, Bijou saw a mass of bright colors floating through the sky.  The fire torched under the large, majestic balloons, and Bijou dreamed of floating in the comfort of the perfectly woven basket lead by the supremacy of the wind.  Mamaw handed Bijou their small balloon, and Bijou clasped to the polka dotted string.
“You don’t have to let it go.  Just know dat you can.”

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