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Passions in Poetry

The Baby Sitter

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Word Weaver
Member
since 03-06-2011
Posts 437
California, USA


0 posted 04-14-2011 01:49 PM       View Profile for Word Weaver   Email Word Weaver   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to Submit your Poem to Passions   Click to visit Word Weaver's Home Page   View IP for Word Weaver

It was hot and humid in the bus. The vinyl seat was sticky making me wish I'd worn slacks instead of a skirt. The windows were covered with a film of moisture distorting what little view there was. Mile after mile of barren land. Here and there a plowed field and occasionally a planted acre or two, but most of the land had gone to weeds and field flowers. It was a desolate sight and one that spoke of loneliness and broken dreams. “How ironic,” I thought.


Waiting for three hours for the bus to come, three long hours, had given me plenty of time to reflect, and to leave here was my only choice. The choice had been made some time ago but as to its soundness, till now, there was doubt. Actually it was more of a solution than a choice. This was home I was leaving. The only home I'd ever known. Until that fateful summer I'd been happy. There was family, friends, my job, my home, my history. When the bus finally arrived I held back and was the last to board as if hoping for some miracle to prevent me having to go, and then only after the driver asked, "Well Miss, are you coming or what?" while he impatiently tapped the steering wheel and the air brakes made their whooshing boarding sound. The last empty seat was the one across from him. A seat by itself with no one on either side. That was a good thing. I didn't want to talk to anyone and probably would have been rude if anyone tried to strike up a conversation.


I tried to sleep but nightmares woke me every time I dozed off. At one time I must have yelled or said something because the driver inquired if I was okay. I nodded “yes.” and his eyes went back to the road ahead. A long, long stretch of road to where? I didn't know. Hadn't asked. Just bought the first ticket out of town.


I'd bought a bottled drink and a sandwich out of a vending machine at the bus stop. The drink had become lukewarm and the sandwich tasted like cardboard but I ate and drank out of need and thought about what had brought me to this moment in life.


Because of my lack of experience I hesitated when my best friend, Carolyn, asked me to watch her three little ones one night so they could go out to dinner and then see a movie. When she noticed me hesitate she explained that her regular baby sitter was out of town. Then she literally begged me saying there was no one else she would trust with their care. I finally agreed hoping Bill wouldn't mind being left alone for an evening. Even when I was a school girl I didn't baby sit as most of my friends did so I didn't have much experience and Bill and I didn't have children yet, nor were there any nieces or nephews. We planned to have children, but right then we couldn't afford it. We were content. We had a lovely home, entertained a lot, travelled, went to concerts and the theatre, and both of us loved our jobs. It was a good life and our home had two spare bedrooms waiting for when the time was right.


What I couldn’t remember at the time I remember now, vividly. They were cute kids and all and all pretty well behaved. I fed them dinner, gave them their baths, read them a story and waited until they were all sound asleep. I left the door ajar so I could hear if one of them woke up. Then I went downstairs, found the liquor cabinet and made myself a stiff one and took it into the living room. The drink went down so quickly I made another. After the evening I'd had chasing the kids and listening to all the yelling, etc., I really needed a couple of drinks. The house was warm and their AC wasn’t working so I opened all the living room windows and welcomed the nice cool breeze. “During the next commercial I’ll go and open the kid’s windows too,” I vowed.


Finishing the second drink I felt more relaxed, lit another cigarette, pushed a pile of newspapers on the coffee table aside, set the cigarette in an ashtray and then put my head back to watch TV.


The next thing I knew I woke up and was in a hospital. Most of my right side was heavily bandaged including a portion of my face. I didn't know pain could be so intense. It was pure agony and pain killers merely took the edge off.


I asked the nurse who was adjusting something on one of the bottles hanging over my head what had happened. She told me she wasn’t allowed to talk to me about anything. Just then my husband, Bill, walked in. He walked up to the bed with a look of utter disgust on his face and told me I'd fallen asleep with a lit cigarette. "How could you Marilyn? Carolyn trusted you and because of you all her children are dead. I can't stand to look at you and I don't want to ever again. It should have been you who died, not them. Those poor helpless little kids. And Carolyn and Mike never will recover. How many times have I told you to cut down on the drinking? It got out of hand Marilyn. And to stop smoking? You’re a sloppy smoker. There’re cigarette burns all over our house. I hope they lock you up and throw away the key."


"I don't remember Bill. I honestly don't remember anything after putting the kids to bed. I would have tried to save them. I would. I wish with all my heart it had been me instead of them. Please believe me." I reached for his hand and he recoiled as if a snake were about to strike.


"When the shock and pain wear off you'll remember. I hope the memory makes the rest of your life hell for you. I want nothing more to do with you," Bill replied and left. I never saw him again.


The story was all over the hospital and it wasn’t long before a nurse couldn’t stand my insistent questioning any longer and finally told me what she knew. It seems a man was walking his dog, saw smoke in the window of the house, used his cell phone and called 911. They found me first. I was on the floor halfway to the stairs leading up to the kid’s rooms. Obviously I’d woken up and tried to get to them but had become overcome by the smoke and passed out. They took me out first then went back in for the kids but it was too late.


I spent seven years of a fifteen-year sentence in prison for involuntary manslaughter. Not one person visited me in all that time. Not my husband, mother, father, sisters or any of my many friends. Bill divorced me and has since remarried.


I was shunned by my fellow inmates. Not so much because of my disfigurements as for the fact that any perpetrator of a crime involving children was considered a monster and most lived in fear of being killed by one of the other inmates. I was no exception and was given a private cell for my protection. A guard went with me any time I was let out of that cell. I guess being shunned was getting off easy. Most of the guards felt as the inmates did and it would have been easy for one of them to look the other way for a minute or two.


And now I sit on this bus wondering where to go from here knowing all along that it doesn’t matter. There’s nowhere I belong, not any more.


© Copyright 2011 Marcia Miller-Twiford - All Rights Reserved
Balladeer
Administrator
Member Empyrean
since 06-05-99
Posts 26302
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA


1 posted 04-14-2011 11:33 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

An amazing bit of story-telling, Marsha! Fantasy that could easily be reality...and probably has been many times. It only takes one small act of carelessness to ruin one's life.

A very powerful write! :harsoff:
Word Weaver
Member
since 03-06-2011
Posts 437
California, USA


2 posted 04-15-2011 12:46 PM       View Profile for Word Weaver   Email Word Weaver   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Word Weaver's Home Page   View IP for Word Weaver

Thank you Michael. I don't think this section gets many hits and it's good to know that someone read, and enjoyed, my story.

Namaste,
Marcia

Balladeer
Administrator
Member Empyrean
since 06-05-99
Posts 26302
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA


3 posted 04-15-2011 03:39 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I;ll follow you anywhere, Marcia.  

Glad you're doing better

[This message has been edited by Balladeer (04-16-2011 07:37 AM).]

Honeybunch
Member Ascendant
since 12-29-2001
Posts 6868
South Africa


4 posted 04-16-2011 06:34 AM       View Profile for Honeybunch   Email Honeybunch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Honeybunch's Home Page   View IP for Honeybunch

Well, here's another one who has read and enjoyed!  I don't normally pop in here but I'm sure I'll be back.  It's amazing how one moment, one thought, can change one's life so drastically.  Thanks for a good read!

Helen
voice2bheard
Senior Member
since 10-19-2007
Posts 582
New York


5 posted 07-17-2012 09:39 PM       View Profile for voice2bheard   Email voice2bheard   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit voice2bheard's Home Page   View IP for voice2bheard

wow! A sad but excellant story! I felt as if I was watching a movie on the lifetime channel! Beautiful but sad!! Again an amazing story!!

Kate

Marilyn
Member Elite
since 09-26-1999
Posts 2646
Ontario, Canada


6 posted 07-19-2012 09:18 AM       View Profile for Marilyn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Marilyn

Word Weaver indeed. Bravo.
JamesMichael
Member Empyrean
since 11-16-1999
Posts 31622
Kapolei, Hawaii, USA


7 posted 07-30-2012 10:18 PM       View Profile for JamesMichael   Email JamesMichael   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JamesMichael

Good writing...kept my interest...James
Ethern
Member
since 07-01-2010
Posts 148
on a plane


8 posted 11-08-2012 11:15 AM       View Profile for Ethern   Email Ethern   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ethern

talented write
Klassy Lassy
Member Elite
since 06-28-2005
Posts 2181
Oregon


9 posted 11-19-2012 01:07 AM       View Profile for Klassy Lassy   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Klassy Lassy

What a heart-wrenching piece of prose.  It's very well written, and left me aching with compassion for all the characters.  As Michael said, one small moment can change a lifetime.  This is a very effective write, and an appropriate warning in the message to those of us made responsible for someone else's well-being.  A few years ago, something very similar happened in my neighborhood.     ~ Karen
Klassy Lassy
Member Elite
since 06-28-2005
Posts 2181
Oregon


10 posted 11-19-2012 01:12 AM       View Profile for Klassy Lassy   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Klassy Lassy

Sorry about the double post... problems with my computer...
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