The Extra Knot

by Holli Downs

"Rope" by Verte Adélie via Fotopedia.

"Rope" by Verte Adélie via Fotopedia.

It was me screaming in the reflection of Dr. Maxwell’s sunglasses saying “the kids! the knot! the rope!” and pulling on his sleeve trying to explain what he already knew- that there was an extra knot- that the ropes the organizers gave us were marked with them… the knots I mean, a foot apart- I held up my hands ‘like this’- one for each kid coming to bible school, because the teachers, we needed to glance and see them, they’re so small and fidgety, we had to know we had the right number, “all of them” I said reaching over and yanking him again harder, faster down the hall between the Elmer’s glue scented rooms where I had helped them cut out breastplates of righteousness reading “Jesus Loves Jenny” or James or Joe, where I had promised them they would go to heaven and the angels, even Gabriel- because he was their favorite- would blow their trumpets and to please line up and grab a knot and John stay out of the candy and all of you to please follow me to the puppet show and they did, “but not all of them” I said and I felt wet on my face, but we made it- finally made it to the door where there was nothing clearly awry but Jelly Belly’s spilt from the desk to the floor, a fr agmented sugar rainbow that must have been the reason for Dr. Maxwell relaxing beside me and putting a hand on my shoulder as if it had all been too much, as if I had been mistaken and John wasn’t hiding within the folded up room divider with an airway full of masticated plunder– he must have thought, before we heard the knock of the extra knot, I was the one choking.

 

Holli Downs is a n ative of North Texas, earning an MFA in Fiction at Emerson College.