“Restless Days”

Adele thought about Elizabeth Hardwick, how she moved from Lexington, Kentucky to New York City, going back south for family visits, never feeling at home there, always the outsider. “The stain of place,” Hardwick called it, dirty marks not easily washed, physical blemish like the jagged scar in the palm of Adele’s right hand ripped scaling over barbed wire, running from a car of boys at the Marshal Drive-In, making out in the back seat with Tony when three of his buddies crawled in the front. Olivia Newton John pierced the dark, “You’re the One That I Want,” and Adele grabbed the door handle, escaping to endure three more years of high school on wooden bleachers in PE. Mrs. Slocam said abstinence was the only birth control, but Adele knew otherwise, wondering how she could love her mother and father so much yet feel trapped in a time capsule where Jim Crow thrived. Nice white girls still attended business school, any day catching a nice white boy from college. Adele refused to take typing or home management or babysit for the Taylors next door because she knew it was all a sham to cheat her out of her birthright, to sabotage her brain, fitting her for the role of some Stepford wife. A pretty little dummy in a pinafore dress who baked apple pies and spread her legs for the man of the house—pumping out babies at his whim and wiping every surface white.

Chella Courington

About Chella Courington

Chella Courington is the author of three prose poetry/flash fiction chapbooks: Love Letter to Biology 250 (forthcoming from Porkbelly Press), Talking Did Not Come Easily to Diana and Girls and Women. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals including SmokeLong, Pirene’s Fountain, Nano Fiction, The Collagist, and The Los Angeles Review. Born and raised in the Appalachian South, she now lives in the West with another writer and two cats.