Rosie Rhymes

Ring-a-ring-a-roses KateGreenway MotherGooseNurseryRhymes 1881

Kate Greenway, Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes 1881

 

“Ring-a-ring-a-roses; A pocket full of posies; Hush-hush, Hush-hush; We’re all tumbled down!”

“She can play like this for hours,” Mary sighed.

Alice gazed at the child, who with arms spread wide to the sides, continued to spin about the garden’s green, dipping a curtsy at the final line before going back again to the first. Her pitch was perfect and her voice was sweet, but the bouncy ringlets and pinafore over a knee-high calico dress only highlighted the oddity.

It was adorable when Rosie was six years old. The girl was nearly thirteen.

“How’s Rosie’s schooling coming along?” Alice tried.

Mary’s smile faltered for a second before a placid screen unfurled over her face. “Just fine,” she breathed. “It’s coming along just fine, dear. Did you try the rose-petal marmalade? Mrs. Hannah outdid herself this year.”

It is like watching a wind-up toy, Alice thought. She never could get her sister to speak candidly about the child. None of them could. They all knew much was wrong, yet it was nigh impossible to discuss it. There’d been some concerns before the accident, of course, though Rosie had been very young then and much was explained away as the idiosyncrasies of an only child with an active imagination.

Then the accident happened and it was as if Mary had stopped the clock. On her own life as well as Rosie’s. The child seemed content enough, delayed and mostly mute outside of singing as she was. But how much did any of them know about the child’s true reality and potential, and how much was her mother’s doing, impeding her growth?

“Ring-a-ring-a-roses …”

Rosie’s singing rang in Alice’s ears and suddenly she could not stand it any longer.

“Mary,” she pressed, “I know this expert …”

Her sister raised a delicate hand. “We have all we need, Alice.”

Alice shook her head. “No, you don’t. I love you, and I know you love Rosie dearly, but she’ll be a woman soon … and she can’t stay six forever. Let me get the both of you some help. It’s not about trying to force her to do what she cannot, if she cannot … I mean, I know she’s a little …” her sister’s eyes stopped her. Brittle. Angry. Warning.

“… I … I can see she seems happy,” Alice inhaled and paused, hoping for a relenting crack in her sister’s eyes.

There was none.

“Indeed she is happy,” Mary clipped. “And we shall keep it this way, shall we?” She turned her head a tad, so that her eyes rested partially on the closed wing of the manor where the stone would forever be a bit dark, and partially on the child she’d frozen in time. The sweet girl who did not need to know more than what she’d known the day before she had tipped a candle onto paper and accidentally, fatally, set fire to her father’s study. “Now, about that marmalade!”

 

 

 

For the SoCS prompt: Rhymes with rosy

 

In Denial

egg-583163_1920

Photo: stevepb-282134 on Pixabay

 

“He’d never do that.”

“But he’s such a nice guy!”

“She’s lying or she’d have complained sooner.”

“He’s a pillar of the community.”

“Why ruin a man’s name?”

“I’ve never seen him do anything.”

“He said he didn’t do it. What else do you want?”

“Kids are unreliable.”

“Women lie about this stuff all the time.”

Even when videos surfaced following one victim’s suicide. Even after he was convicted. Some kept claiming he’d been the one wronged.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Denial in 77 words

 

Radium Springs Roulette

radium springs ga casino pc

 

“Well then,” Mom exclaimed.

She was going over Poppa’s papers while I boxed seemingly endless books.

I looked up. There was an album in her lap, black pages empty but for an old postcard.

“He denied it when I’d said he’d taken me there,” Mom whispered. “I was young and believed him, but my heart knew all the same.”

I shook my head. Poppa was as straight-laced as they came.

“He gambled,” she explained. “A salesman meant frequent traveling. He used it to hide visits to casinos.”

She fingered the card. “Radium Springs Casino. I knew I hadn’t dreamed this place. The deep blue water wove tightly with the wheel.”

I gazed at the memento. At my mom.

“I was not-yet-four,” she sighed. “Thomas was just born and Dad took me to ‘work’ so Mom could rest. He played the roulette. … Perhaps his keeping of the card was another gamble.”

 

 

For What Pegman Saw: Radium Springs, GA

 

Do Not Be Silenced

The Childrens Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem
The Children’s Memorial, Yad Vashem

 

 

In remembrance of times

Of horror

Never to repeat

Never to minimize:

Do not shy

Of voice

Do not shy

Of fact

Do not shy

Of holding truth

To challenge

Those who in their blindness,

In their hunger to cause pain,

Seek to deny

The cost of hate

The force of harm

The voice of those who had been silenced.

Do not be silenced.

Be brave.

Walk tall.

Remember:

Those who seek to silence

To zip history closed

To limit learning,

Can only do so

If they make you forget

The truth

Entrusted to you — to all of us —

By those who’d perished

And those who’d managed

To survive.

 

 

 

For The Daily Post

 

“They did it!”

Goldfish

 

“It wasn’t me!”

The potbellied cookie-jar was stranded sideways on the kitchen floor amidst small mountains of spilled cookies in various states of broken. The jar’s lid wobbled under a chair a few feet away.

I looked at the small face, cherubic auburn curls surrounding dimpled cheeks. The forcefulness of the denial belied the crumbs around the lips, the sticky hands, the guilty blue-gray eyes.

“It wasn’t, eh?” I worked to keep my eyebrows in line.

The preschooler squirmed but didn’t fold. She shook her head emphatically, looked around, and tapped her lower lip with a (suspiciously chocolatey) finger.

An idea dawned into her face and she pointed said finger at the aquarium where three goldfish lazed. “They did it!”

My eyebrows escaped. “The fish?!”

A wholehearted nod. She was warming to the thought. “Yeah! They don’t like fish food every day every day anymore … and … and … it the fish birthday …” she swung her finger from one idle swimmer to the next. “Um, this one! See? He didn’t even want fish food for his birthday!”

 

(Thank you, A.J.!)

For The Daily Post