I told Jonah to pack some clothes in a bag as I would be taking care of him now , at least till he was grown enough to stand on his own two feet. While he packed I washed his ma, found her prettiest dress and combed her tattered locks, ensuring she looked presentable for the undertakers, I stroked her hair and sighed, mourning the waste of a good soul. I grabbed the bag of clothes and marched Jonah down the dusty path to my shack at the edge of the woods.
I showed him where he would be sleeping, told him to drop the bag on his bed and steered him towards the kitchen chair.
Searching for the scissors, I exclaimed ” We have to do something about that hair, it’s much too long, I don’t know what your ma was thinking”.
Jonah started bubbling up ” I miss my ma, grandma, is she in heaven”.
” She sure is child. She’s in a far better place then here, you can count on that” I replied.
” I wish she can fly down from Heaven and visit me Grandma, will God allow that” pleaded Jonah.
” Theirs no amount of wishing that’s going to bring your ma back to earth” I said ” now stop fidgeting and let me get on with the hair cutting”.
I snipped away with the scissors reminiscing on the afternoon his ma had come home from school, crying, disheveled with her face competing between hurt and ashamed. It took me a while to drag the story out of her, how that no good sonofabitch Billy Murphy has raped her behind Jed’s liquor store. I grabbed my shot gun and headed for the store and there he was calm as day leaning against the porch dragging on a cigarette. His body jerked when he saw me raising my shotgun marching steadily towards him.
“I’m gonna shoot you in the belly and watch you die slow” I angrily shouted.
He held his hands in front of him and started pleading ” Now don’t be too hasty Mrs.Higgins. Me and Molly were just having a bit of fun. No need to get all riled up”.
” You have one chance to get out of town and don’t come back ” I screamed ” the next time i see you I’ll shoot you dead”. With that final warming I turned away and hurried back to Molly.
“Grandma, your hurting my shoulder” Jonah cried.
I came to with a start, not realizing how tense I had become. ” Sorry, Jonah, I was thinking about your daddy” I said as I massaged his shoulder.
” Ma said my daddy’s dead, is he in heaven with ma” Jonah queried.
” I guess he is” I lied ” they’re both probably happy together. Everyone’s happy in heaven, it’s the place for forgiving and forgetting”.
There was no way I was gonna tell Jonah his daddy was alive. That genie is not getting back in the bottle.