Been Married--Yes Been divorced-- No Fell in love-- Yes Gone on a blind date-- Yes Skipped school-- Yes Watched someone give birth-- Yep. Me! Watched someone die-- Yes Been to Canada-- Yes Ridden in an ambulance-- No Been to Hawaii-- Yes Been to Europe-- Yes Been to Washington D.C.-- Yes Been to Nashville-- Not yet Visited Florida-- Yes Visited Mexico-- Yes Seen Grand Canyon in person-- No Flown in a helicopter-- No Been on a cruise-- No Served on a jury--No Been in a movie-- No Danced in the rain-- I was probably very drunk. Been to Los Angeles-- Yes Been to New York City--Yes Played/Sang in a band-- No Sang karaoke-- Yes Laughed so much you cried-- Yes Laughed so hard you peed-- Only when I was pregnant Caught a snowflake on your tongue -- What do I look like, a character in a 1950s movie? Had kids - I think so, yes. Had a pet(s)-- Yes Been sledding on a big hill- Nope Been downhill skiing-- Hell no! Been water skiing-- Hell NO! Rode on a motorcycle-- Yep. Driven one, even. Traveled to all 50 states-- No Jumped out of a plane-- Please. I'm Jewish. Been to a drive-in movie-- Yes Rode a camel -- Is Adam's name Camel? Rode a Horse-- Yes Been on TV -- Maybe? Been in the newspaper-- Yes Stayed in the Hospital-- Yes Donated blood-- Yes Gotten a piercing-- Yes Gotten a tattoo-- No Driven a stick shift vehicle -- Yes! Been scuba diving -- Nope Been snorkeling-- No Rode in the back of a police car-- No Got a speeding ticket-- And how! Broken a bone-- Nope. Gotten stitches-- I almost said no, then I remembered ... why yes, I have. Traveled Alone--Yes! Shot 59 in golf-- No
Sitting in the passenger seat of Tina’s third-hand
Civic, I went off on myself, thinking about what I should have done rather than
running away. I should’ve busted it up, thrown down demands and maybe a leg or
two from the gone-but-not-forgotten pig.
If I couldn’t do it for myself, I should
have done it for Brat. I hadn’t even told him goodbye before I bailed. My
stomach ached thinking about that kid. He was so damn innocent, so subject to
whatever Nails and Rooster – and now, to some degree, Bill – wanted to put him
through. After he was born, I would watch him on the changing table as Nails
wrangled with his diaper. Something about his little naked legs in the air did
something to me. He was helpless in the truest sense of the word, doomed to go
along with whoever and whatever had brought him into this world.
I never wanted kids. Ever. I couldn’t stand the idea of fucking them up the way that
Nails and Rooster had – that is, royally. I couldn’t take the thought that
anyone would be dependent on me the way I was on them. I couldn’t imagine
failing a trusting heart the way my parents had failed mine.
Or Brat’s. Don’t forget about your
brother. The one you abandoned.
But what could I do?
What, indeed, could I ever do?
My mother caught me out before I left. Oh,
she caught me, and caught me hard. She found me in the room that used to be
mine and was now hers. Me, I alternated between sleeping in Brat’s room and on the
floor in her supposed office. She never used it.
I was sitting on my former bed. It was a
super old-fashioned canopy, the poles slightly bent and swaying with the
slightest nearby motion, draped with a pastel cover that my mother hated and I
loved. Well, fuck her. It wasn’t hers. At least, it wasn’t then.
It was now.
Loss takes so many forms. It can be as
complete as your family or as half-assed as a simple bed. But does it really
matter? Hell, a Google search can break your heart.
I'm a writer and performer in Berkeley, Calif. I'm married to a big Jew nose and together we have a fantastic little boy, two gorgeous dogs and the afterlife of a beautiful cat. I am represented by Miriam Altshuler of Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency. Life is good!