Friday, 16 November 2012

Prison Papas

JournalWord: "They're in jail."


5-year old Melody turns to wave before skipping over puddles beside her father, heading towards a car parked down the street. The sky has cleared up since this afternoon and the stars are already peeking over the remaining glow of the sunset. Walking back into the daycare, I start collecting strewn toys as I stroll down the orange and blue hallway. Stuffed bears and railway cars are piling in the crook of my arm and I occasionally press down falling, taped corners of scribbled sheets decorating the walls.

Dumping the collection of toys into an overflowing chest of Legos and plastic dinosaurs, I stretch, cracking my back.

"Ouch!" I rub at the base of my spine, vowing for a hot soak in my bathtub later while cursing the twins for convincing me that I am still young enough to give all ten of the children a gallop around the playroom. 

"You will be their neighbor," a cheery voice states from the playroom. Following his voice to the yellow room, filled with alphabet mats for story time and mountains of toys and children's books in all four corners of the room, I watch Joey sort dolls in front of himself while narrating where they will be living. 

"You're going to have to live by the pet store," he instructs a doll with short black hair, sporting an outfit combination of a blue summer dress and neon tights. She only has one pink heel. "We don't want the snakes and lizards to escape. You lost your shoe chasing after them last time."

It's almost 6 O'clock and this will be the third time Laura has been late to pick Joey up. Picking up some of the toys around me, I shuffle the toys a bit in my hands so Joey knows I'm here. His babbling stops but he walks a Barbie slowly, tracing an "S" into the mat on her stroll. 

I toss the toys into one of the mountains in the corner before gently settling beside Joey on the mat. He doesn't look up from the doll in his hand, picking at the red skirt. 

"So tell me," I start, smiling when he lifts his head. "Where does this Barbie live?"

His face brightens with his smile and I remember how proud he was when he lost his first tooth a couple weeks ago. "She's a doctor," he says, placing her down and picking up the little boy doll beside her. "And this is her son." 

Joey starts to introduce five pairs of dolls, indicating the mother's job and each mother's daughter or son. He is all smiles but falters at the last set of dolls, hands hesitating over the three dolls. 

I notice his hesitancy but urge him on. "And what about these lovely dolls?" I ask, picking up the set of three and raise my eyebrows with an interested smile to encourage him. 

He eyes the dolls, not taking any notice in my exuberance. "That's the mommy, and this is the son, and this is the mommy." He points to each respective doll in my hands, a small, shy smile on his lips.

I take the time to nod my head in understanding, handing the dolls to Joey's waiting palms, watching as he carefully places them in front of him, patting their heads. 

I finally bring up the question I've been meaning to ask. "Now, where are all the daddies?" indicating the neglected male dolls in surfer shorts and suits laying on the other side of the room.

"Oh," he snaps his head up, a surprised expression in his eyes, head tilted like I should know, "they're all in jail," he answers, a frown of disappointment present on his face at my lack of knowledge.

Stunned by his answer, I don't notice the doorbell. Joey jumps up and starts to run down the hall, and he makes it halfway before I catch up to him, reminding him not to open the door without an adult present.
Laura is apologetic for being late again, thanking me for taking care of Joey before helping him gather his boots and jacket. As they leave, Joey babbling on about his day at school, I lock up the front door. 

Cleaning up the remainder of the toys in the playroom and turning off lights, I recall Laura talking to me last week about her engagement to her long time boyfriend, and Joey's father, and their wedding five months from now. 


I'd love to know what you think and what comes to mind as soon as you are given the statement, 
"They're in jail.". 

All my keywords that spark my writing are from a personal collection of phrases, ideas, and words that I have compiled from my everyday excursions. I did want to base my writing on a published book, compiled with a list of already written writing prompts (and none of that mumbo-jumbo about how to write and where to find inspiration and such), but apparently such a book does not exist (as according to the Chapters employee who sat me down and instructed me to write it myself). Yeah, that may or may not happen. 
We shall see!

Thank you for reading!!!


Post a Comment

Your reaction to the story is highly anticipated. I'd love to know what you think so feel free to comment and criticize. (And suggestions are always welcome and considered!)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.