May The Road Rise With You

Fiction
By: Lisa





er name is May but it is a weak April outside, warbling and unenthusiastic. Spitting rain graffities the windows on the second floor of the old Tudor where the girl named May sits in bed, chubby legs crossed, caressing her left hand. May has counted today, and there are three warts on her second and third fingers. Her mother called them kisses from a troll, which made Mays face crinkle in disgust, like she were a troll herself. 

Who wants kisses from a troll? Why are they here anyway? Why have they kissed me?

It never occurred to Mays mother that her daughter might be afraid of vagabond kissing trolls, and it never occurred to May to be afraid. No looking under the bed occurred before bedtime, no reassurances or doors cocked open to make sure Mother was only a few steps away in the darkness. 

Instead, Mays mother Susannah sits on the edge of her daughters worn floral comforter, looking for all the world like a string in her back is pulled too tight. Susannah never bends her spine in relaxation, never sweeps the greasy bangs from her eyes, never halts her reproach of Mays father, never deviates from the script written seven years earlier, when her overweight baby had appeared squalling into her life. 8 p.m. is Bedtime, and Susannah reads from a thick copy of Grimms Complete Fairy Tales, unaware of the light coming into Mays watery gray eyes. All she sees are her daughters advancing thickness and her colorless hair and eyes. Evidence of her own lackluster appearance. 

May is first enthralled by Susannahs circumspect choice of The Three Spinstersas tonights fairy tale, but Susannahs lifeless drone soon challenges her patience. Her eyes rove, landing on a much-loved print that bears her name, and other weird words besides:


Go n-eírí an bóthar leat.
May the road rise with you.


Its a print that once stood in the study of an important young man, professor of this or that, stolen at semesters end by a student with greasy blond bangs. It hangs here now, time-worn, evidence that this man once existed.

May studies it now, for perhaps the zillionth time in her life. Her pink lips vaguely form the Gaelic words shell never learn to pronounce, and then her own name. May the road rise with you. Not for the first time, May sees a great highway, thick and long as the ones just outside her neighborhood, and watches it rise like an ocean wave, buckling and swirling, finally whirling in slow motion, coming to stand beside her in humanoid form, a concrete creature with kind yellow eyes as bright as those double lines. She takes Mays pudgy hand and walks with her into a blazing sunset. May, the road rise with you. Its never occurred to May that a comma was wanting. Shell be a full seven on May 1, her name and the month of her birth conveniently the same. 

The story finished, Susannah softly shuts the book, noting the dreamy gaze of her simple daughter. She finally bends her back, touches her lips to Mays forehead. Good night, May.The road rise with you. Sweet dreams.And like a dream, shes gone, switching off the light and latching the door safely shut. 

Now, in bed with the lights out, May feels the bumps on her left hand, only softly illuminated by a dim nightlight that casts a diffuse glow on her fat fingers. She imagines the bumps not as evidence of troll activity, but as their houses themselves, little huts of flesh that contain minuscule trolls with minuscule families smaller than the smallest Barbie shoe in her neglected collection. If her bedtime story had been Swift instead of Grimm, she may have attempted to remember the word Lilliputian. As it is, May falls asleep stroking her left hand with her right.

Oh, hello!

Oh, hello!
We're Sarah and Kaitlyn, roommates from Milwaukee who started this blog to promote creativity and life.
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