Sunday, July 9, 2017


Trigger warning: brief descriptions of abuse.

Laughing Buddha

Sandy took Laughing Buddha to the beach. She loved the way the waves were always the same, but never the same. The strand was always the same, and never the same. Not like people, they were always different. Look at Laughing Buddha, for instance.

Sandy had lived with her parents in Nags Head her whole life. Except they weren't really her parents, and it wasn't really her whole life. She loved them, she really did, because they loved her. They told her so. And when Mama or Daddy had to take out the belt, and Sandy had to lie on her stomach for a couple of days afterwards, it was all done out of love.

That was why, when Sandy started to remember who she really was, she acted out of love. A seagull flew out the window of the cottage on stilts, not quite within sight of the water, but as close as they could afford. It was laughing, the way seagulls do, the way Mama did. Mama thought almost everything was funny, except when Sandy talked back, or broke things, or wouldn't do what she was told.

And when Daddy came home from work, and asked where Mama was, and smiled, but made Sandy stand very still while he looked through Mama's things, and said bad words, he became Laughing Buddha. Because Laughing Buddha looks like he's laughing, but he isn't. And he looks nice, but he isn't. Which is why Sandy, acting out of love, took Laughing Buddha to the beach. They watched the stars come out as the sun sank behind them into the bay. Sandy told Laughing Buddha all about Mama, and the seagull, and who she really was, and the proper usage of belts, as the sky slowly turned. When she was done talking, Sandy left Laughing Buddha just below the line of seaweed and tiny bits of shell that marked the last high tide. It would be a spring tide tonight.

Publ. Daily Cabal, 2010

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