“I heard a shriek that is laden
with sorrow, shrilling out her hard grief she cries out upon him who betrayed both
her bed and her marriage.” Euripides
family lived across the street from the Winston's. Mrs. Winston was a wispy
sort of person; thin, 5'3", with light brown hair. Her face was thin and
angular with a thin long nose and darting dark eyes that never looked directly
at another human being. She was married to an executive who rarely found his
way home during the week, preferring the company of other women to his wife.
There were two daughters, 14, Yvonne, one younger girl, 10, named Judy, and a
boy Mark who was 13. All the kids in my neighborhood got along well except for
Mark who thought sexually exposing himself to the neighborhood was fun and
Winston avoided talking if at all possible. She slept during most of the day
but was awake and making dinner when the kids came home from school. Sometimes
Yvonne and I would study together at her house. It seemed like the most silent
place on earth.
Winston often peered out her front window at night. No front lights were on and
just the bare reflection of a street lamp illuminated her face. I would sit and
watch her from my bedroom window. I would count out the minutes. Slowly she
would open her front door then suddenly she would rush out on the front lawn
half-naked. I was 14 years old and found her oddness interesting late night
viewing, especially her pointy breasts.
night I saw the dull glow on her face through the window. Slowly she moved to
the front door, the door opens. She leaves the door open and walks on the
front walkway. She's doing something different. I can't see her anymore. She
has gone to the rear of the house. Why?
tugged on my shirt while we stood in the cafeteria line at school, “We need to talk,” she said. “OK, after school,
we'll walk home together,” I smiled at her and picked up a plate of food. We
met at the side gate, Yvonne was looking sad and dejected, “What's up?” I ask.
"My mom, she's acting real strange, she creeps through the house all night
long. She keeps everyone awake. I told her the whole story about watching her mom late
at night. Yvonne sadly responded, “She
talks to snails too, honest! She lays down in the back yard and crawls on her
stomach, talking to the snails in the garden, naked!” We both laughed, but it's
a sad and tense laughter.
needs some kind of help, psyh,..psych,...ologist type help.” I said. Yvonne
looked at me tearfully, “You telling me my mom is mentally ill or something?”
We said nothing else the entire walk home. There was nothing else to be said.
We were two friends in a sea of craziness.
Friday, 1:30 AM:
am determined to see Mrs. Winston talk to the snails. I wait and wait. Finally
I see her face look out the window. The front door opens, out she comes,
fully naked! She goes around the house to the backyard. I have my jeans and
T-shirt on. I jump away from the window and sneak out the front door. I run
across the street and around the Winston house towards their backyard. I turn the corner of the
house looking into the back yard. I'm in hot pursuit.
next to the garden was Mrs. Winston on her stomach, naked and covered in wet dirt. She was
talking to unseen things in the garden bed. The yellowish glare of a dim back
porch light bathed her body in a jaundice of insanity. “No one is going to hurt
you,” she whimpers. “I'll take care of you. Don't worry, don't worry, you have
a friend.” She starts to softly cry, wrapping her arms around her dirty, wet, yellowed
body, rocking slowly. “Don't worry everything is going to be OK, you'll see,
all OK, all OK, all OK, all OK, allok........okokokokokokokok.” I ran away,
I had seen this all