by Jude Roy
Once a month, Daddy walks five miles to town, carrying the grocery list he cannot read in the back pocket of his torn khakis. He hitches a ride back in the public school bus, grocery bags stacked neatly on the front seat, like good obedient students.
The school children's prattle makes him nervous. They speak American in a sophisticated way that shames him. His Cajun sounds out of place.
The beer on his breath mingles with the smell of crayons, books, and school rooms—unfamiliar smells to him.
Daddy perches on the front seat edge and talks about weather, harvest, and politics—things he knows—with the bewhiskered bus driver, who drops him off at the end of the dirt lane that leads to our rundown shack in the middle of his shared cotton field. Daddy makes the half-mile trek, from bus to shack and shack to road, three times—one for each armload.
He picks me up when he is done and holds me out at arms' length.
"You are going to get an education," he tells me in his beer-tinted Cajun. "So that you’ll never feel ashamed."
I nod like a good obedient student.
Jude Roy's fiction has appeared in The Southern Review, American Short Fiction, PEN Syndicated Fiction's The Sound of Writing, The Writing Disorder, and numerous others. He also occasionally dabbles in poetry and essays. Originally from Chataignier, LA, he now resides in Madisonville, KY.
Belle Rêve Literary Journal is a southern literary experience. Our mission is to capture everything that makes the South and its residents unique through the best contemporary literature we can find. We publish new works weekly.
Passionately Ran, Compassionately Fed.