The Exiled Stars

“Burn me at the stake.”

Currently shooting Illusion Travels by Boxcar

Patty had made up her mind: she was moving to Tulsa. She couldn’t take the tirades of her big sister, Barbara, who had reminded her that she didn’t have enough money to make the move. But Patty wanted to go back to her childhood haunts and be closer to her estranged daughter, Dee Ann. Constant arguments ensued about how naïve and foolish Patty would be to suddenly leave the small town of Corinth in the Northeast corner of Mississippi with so little planning. Barbara offered to help her get an “efficiency” apartment so the two could be close to one another. The night before Patty left on the Greyhound for Tulsa, Barbara had finally lashed out at Patty in exasperation. “You never wanted to live a good, quiet, easy life. You’d rather end up on the streets with all those down-and-outers, the only people you like.” To get away from Barbara’s wrath, she stayed out on the front porch as night enveloped the sleepy houses, and stayed on the porch all night.
As a train whistle moaned a hollow sigh for her, Patty’s eyes were drawn to the darkening sky, her mind beginning to grasp her dire situation:

After this night, she would no longer be the little bedraggled sister under the stern thumb of her sibling. She would again have to step into the world alone, this time without the cloak of family or the promise of endless miles of rail or the steady companionship of another worthless, besotted man. She saw her exile on the porch as a sure sign that she must be bad. Why, she asked, was she so misunderstood, so victimized, so robbed of her girlhood’s birthright of good fortune? If the shooting stars were signalling their ejection from the deep of space, Patty saw her own trajectory from the charmed galaxy of “normal” people as part of the same fate. Her last night on the porch was proof for her of the rightness of moving to Tulsa. The awareness of the inevitability of a change elicited a soft click in her brain.

Thoughts dark and oceanic, outlandish and terrifying, filled her with a calm that ended with a flood of tears. She was so confused, even things that used to comfort her, such as her frequent talks with God, seemed groundless. “If Jesus is Lord and Mary begat Him and He was the ultimate universal God, then…WHO BEGAT GOD?” she questioned.

Today, we went to the Salvation Army, or “Sally,” as Patty calls it. By the time the 7:30 p.m. curfew arrived, I had decided to let Patty stay in our motel room instead of going to the Sally. Once you’re in there, you can’t get out.

There was a strangely outfitted person in the lobby of the Sally. Where was the sandstorm?

We had a conversation with her son, Darrel, and his new girlfriend long distance from Alabama. She said, “Bring her here and I’ll take care of Patty. It’ll make a man of Darrel.”




Posted at 5am on 05/05/2005 |

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