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A MORNING OF PROMISES.

Short story By: Terry Collett
Flash fiction



Lisa stands in the milking shed staring at her father putting the shell and claws of the milking machine on one of the cows. She isn't thinking of the cow or her father; she's thinking of the kiss she planted on the lips of Mona Malloy the previous day in the gym changing room.


Submitted:Jun 3, 2007    Reads: 111    Comments: 1    Likes: 0   


Lisa stands in the milking shed staring at her father putting the shell and claws of the milking machine on one of the cows. She isn't thinking of the cow or her father; she's thinking of the kiss she planted on the lips of Mona Malloy the previous day in the gym changing room. She could still sense the feeling of unreality of it all; sense that when Mona had pushed her away, she had fallen through a huge chasm into a dark hole, from which she feared she would not be able to climb out. Then when she had wandered onto the playing field in the mist, she felt as if she was out on a limb, and that Mona would not speak to her again or want to sit next to her in class. Then Mona was there in the mist beside her; they talked; they kissed.

She swings the empty bucket beside her; allows her eyes to wander from her father to the line of cows along the shed. The smell of dung, dampness and cows clings to the air around her. She wants to be able to see Mona, but knows her father won't allow her out of the farm today, or to escape her chores around the house. She licks her lips; tries to recall the sensation of the kiss again and the hand of Mona in hers; flesh on flesh; warm skin on warm skin.

- Are you going to stand there all day like a dummy; or are you going to help me with this milking, girl?

Lisa turns and sees her father gazing at her with that hard look he has when he's displeased. The image of Mona disappears into the air.

- Sorry, Da, I was miles away.

- I want you here, not miles away. Bad enough your brother Michael being off in the big city without you being muddle-headed with me.

- I was thinking.

- About what?

- Just thinking.

Her father sighs heavily; slaps the backside of the cow he passes. He wanders along to the next cow, attaches the shell, and claws to the udders.

- Leave thinking to those who have time to think. When you've done here, you can go give your mammy a hand in the house. See if Jamie has the tractor moving across the field yet, when you've weighed this milk.

Lisa is watching her father's features harden as he stands up and stares across at her. His cap clinging to the back of his head reveals sweat and dirt; his thin hands rest momentarily on his hips; his eyes narrow as he allows his vision of her to pinpoint her body.

- I've been invited to tea tomorrow.

- Who'd be inviting you to tea?

- Mona Molloy.

- What would she be inviting you to tea for?

Lisa lowers the bucket to the floor and brings her hands together as if she was about to pray or offer up prayers that would allow her father to agree to her going.�

- We're friends. Give us chance to talk and play music on her sister's record player.

- What about your chores here?

-I'll do them first of course.

- I know you will. What's your mammy say?

- She says to ask you.

Liam Logan stands upright and stares at his daughter before him. He takes in her small frame narrowing into a shape he'd not noticed before; the hands held in front of�her stomach nervously. The blue eyes are on him; the hair brought back behind her head tightly.

- I don't want you to bring trouble while you're there.

- I don't bring trouble, Da.

- Not what the sisters at the school are saying.

Liam stares hard at his daughter.

- If I hear of trouble, you know what you can expect.

Lisa knows; her memory is acute of what her father is capable of when he's angered.

- The sisters?

- Sister Agnes especially has words on you.

- What words would they be, Da?

- Don't be playing the innocent with me, Lisa.

He pauses. Looks away; moves on to the next cow; attaches the claws to the udders.

- Can I go to tea?

Lisa picks up the bucket; moves closer to where her father is.

- If you've done your chores and your mammy's happy for you to be going.

Lisa is tempted to go kiss her father on the cheek, but restrains herself. She feels her heart beat fast at the thought of she and Mona being close again; the promise of another kiss.

- Mind what I say about there being no trouble. I'll take my hand to you if I so much as hear a word of any trouble from the Molloys.

Lisa smiles; goes to weigh the milk her father has emptied into the bucket; feels excitement rush through her veins, as if a gush of warm water had flown into her from some mysterious source. She hangs the bucket on to the scales; takes note of the figures; writes them down in the book on the wall.

Her father moves on down the shed; his voice mutters things she doesn't understand. His hand taps the rears of the cows he passes.

She stands by the door of the cow shed; peers out across the hills; wonders what Mona is doing, hoping to see her the following day at mass in the church and later for tea at Mona's house across the hill. At that moment a dull sun sits on the hill, promising a little warmth to warm her and maybe, she thinks, a promise tomorrow of a closer union with Mona and a day to remember.

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