"Reconciled" by Gale Acuff

Categories: ISSUE 02: Billie

Reconciled
Last night I dreamt that Miss Hooker said yes
when I asked her to marry me and we
went on our honeymoon after we got
all that wedding stuff out of the way, all
that vowing and kissing at the altar
and being hit with rice on the way out
of our church and into my car, a great
big blue Cadillac, although I'm not sure
how I got it because I was only
16 to Miss Hooker's 31, which
means that I'm just 10 to her 25
now. She's my Sunday School teacher so it's

alright for me to marry someone so
old and anyway it's true love, don't ask
me how I know, I just do--anyway
it's only a dream even though it's my
dream. So off we went on our our honeymoon
to the Motel 8, free cable TV
and continental breakfast, whatever
that is, my dream didn't last that long, just
until we went to sleep that night. I'll bet
our heads didn't hit the pillow until
9:30 and we had a ball, playing
cards and checkers and Parcheesi and God
knows what else, Sorry! and Yahtzee
maybe, and eating anything we liked,
chili and pizza and ice cream and hot
dogs and Goobers and Raisinets, I hate
raisins but I'll eat them all covered in
chocolate, the raisins I mean, not me,
but then if Miss Hooker had wanted to
smother me in the dark stuff in the bathtub
I would've said sure. I love her that much
and anyway I'd take a bath after.
So now I know what people do on their
honeymoons, it came to me in my dream
and it can only be from God because
every night I tell Him how much I love
Miss Hooker--and Him, too, of course, just not
the same way--so maybe it's a sign

unto me that when I'm old enough He'll
give Miss Hooker to me, and me to her
of course, and I can hardly wait until
I'm 16, driving and shaving, and can
quit school and get a job to support her
and then we can have babies, how that works
I don't yet know but I trust God to show
me how and then I'll demonstrate to her
though she might know anyway but I don't
see how, she's not married, that's when you learn
I guess, at least that's what my parents say
when I ask them just where babies come from.
I asked again at supper last night, eggs
and tomatoes and breadsticks, and pudding
for dessert but only vanilla, which
is better than the tapioca we
usually have. Father pointed with his
knife at my plate. Eat, boy, eat, he said--eat
before it gets too cold or you get too
hot. Mother giggled so I looked at her
and her face was as red as Miss Hooker's
hair. Or maybe that was the answer, kind
of like a code, Father trying to tell
me something without telling anything,
as if somebody was listening, but
the only one around besides Mother
and me was God--maybe He doesn't know
so Father had to be careful not to
surprise Him. That makes sense. After supper
I went to my room to read comic books
and tune in my transistor radio,
then it was time for bed and the next thing
I know is that I'm in a hotel room
with Miss Hooker, my wife. I don't know her

first name so I cover by calling her
Honey and Baby and Sugar and soon
she's jumping my checkers and I'm crowning
her and saying, It's a righteous thing to
crown the Queen of my heart--just every
so often I say the right thing--and then
she kisses me, with her lips I mean, and I
couldn't help but kiss her back but it's no
shame, after all we're married. Or we were
--when I woke up it was like a divorce.
If I dream about her again tonight
I guess that's what's called reconciliation.
In Sunday School this morning Miss Hooker
asked me to lead the class in the Lord's
Prayer so I said Yes ma'am and stood up
and cleared my throat, God wants to hear it, too,
and bowed my head and closed my eyes and
forgot how the thing begins. Our Father,
said Miss Hooker. Oh, that's right--thank you, ma'am,
I said, and didn't miss another word
and when I hit Amen we all said it,
shouted it, really, like I hear Father
and Mother shout together from their room
on Saturday nights, then moan a little
but no ever gets hurt. On Sunday
mornings when I get home from church they look
pretty satisfied with themselves. I
hope they don't get proud. Once a week's enough.

--Poem by Gale Acuff
***
--Background photo by Misti Rainwater-Lites
--Foreground photo by Eleanor Leonne Bennett