I know what you are thinking. I know what it looks like, but you’re wrong. They are not just simply liars, con-artists, and thieves. I don’t want to defend them, but I have to. Yes, some of their tactics were questionable—no doubt. They made choices and did things that would make you cringe. They made me cringe. I began questioning them and their lifestyle choices starting day one. Well, at least when it directly affected me. If it was none of my business, then I just let it lay. I had agreed to walk with them “for a bit” and part of that agreement was that I could jump off their crazy train anytime I wanted—no questions asked. I knew I still had a lot to learn. They were right about that. Maybe that food poisoning was a blessing—I don’t know. But they were wrong too because I wasn’t just a kid.
“Hurry,” was what she said…in my dream and what I wish to hear every morning but I woke up and that’s not what she said, I don’t know what she said, and she’s been dead awhile. I’ve known a lot of people that are dead now, but she bothers me the most. I’ll be in a bar, we went to a lot of bars, and I’ll think I see her and think it’s her and inside I feel a chill, like a little tickle, and I’ll shrug my shoulders like she’s scratching my back and giggle and twist and more than once a bartender has cut me off, totally harmless, but drunk nonetheless and should’ve probably been home I have a cat to feed and he’s kind of needy.
I went through a lot to get those hot dogs. It turns out that I was going to go through a lot getting rid of them too. The hot dogs themselves were a problem. The only thing I got from that 7-11 was toxicity. I woke up at four AM vomiting. Then came the diarrhea. Then it was just drive heaves. I puked up any water I tried to sip. I was so thirsty, but I knew I was just going to puke up anything I attempted, so I refrained to conserve the water. I had some, but I didn’t have a lot. I knew it was rather hot outside and even so, I felt cold—shivering cold.
Officer Kris took me out into the lobby. Before we made it there, he introduced me to the dispatcher. Her name was Officer Janice. He explained to her that I would be waiting in the lobby for his return where then he would then give me a ride home. She was nice. She talked with me for a little while. Just typical questions that uncomfortable adults ask comfortable children. Eventually she got busy and I got bored. So I started to make my way toward the door.
“Is everything okay, Piper?”
There is a liquor store in South Boston on Dorchester Avenue I’m sure still exists because liquor stores make money. It’s where I’d buy my cigarettes and liquor and toilet paper and cans of soup, and whatever I was poor. Some time after I moved in to my townhouse apartment down the avenue, the liquor store was renovated with a lounge for lotto customers. No matter what time of day, people of all kinds sat around a television mounted high on a wall watching Keno drawings talking about their numbers and themselves and where they came from and why. “I always use the numbers 9, 18, 47, and 71…my old hockey jersey number was 9, my daughter is 18, and I was born at 4771 Vinton street, down the road, born and raised, my Dad was from….”
When I awoke the next morning, my only objective was to pick up some food. I had left enough room in my pack to carry a few things with me. I had some money. It seemed like a lot of money to me at the time. $566. It had taken me years to accumulate. It was a tedious process of collecting it a few dollars at a time. I got $2-3 for a driveway shoveling. I got $5-10 for a lawn cutting. I got $1-2 for a dog walking. I got $10-20 for a babysitting. The girls in my neighborhood kind of hated me for that one, but it wasn’t my fault. The kids requested me, so I just obliged. There wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do for a buck. There was leaf raking. One summer a man offered us a lot of money to dig a big hole in his back yard. He staked it out and told us he wanted eight feet deep and that he would pay $200 for the job. There were four of us and it took about a week. Then there was this other man who had a monster pile of wood. He paid us $100 to pull out all of the nails, put them in a five gallon bucket, and stack the lumber all nice and neat. It too collectively took us about a week. It was all time well spent.
Well, since you’ve agreed to allow me to continue, I will do as promised and start at the beginning and work my way toward the present. In my first letter to you, I kind of put the cart before the horse. I said some things that weren’t always true or weren’t always the case. I just don’t want you to mistake any apparent inconsistency with what I’ve already told you to be evidence of a lie as I continue. There is a process, an evolution, if you will. I am using the term “evolution” in a good way, such as in the progression of my Faith, as opposed to the evil way the atheists and the scientists enjoy employing the term. Be assured, I am going to tell you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.
This was years ago. We were picking up a friend from the airport.
“My Mom was a nurse, so was my aunt. I never wanted to be anything else.”
It was late and we were both tired. We’d just met and told each other stories to stay awake and get to know each other.
I am not going to beg for your pardon. However, I would like to thank you for granting me this opportunity to clear the air. Yes, I know your language. I understand the mechanics of your language. I can actually speak your language well. I can write your language well. I am actually more adept at using your language than most of the people you know. I am assuming, of course, that you know more learned people outside these prison walls than you do contained within.
I’m thinking about bills and money. I’m thinking about work. I’m thinking about politics and the future and having a child – maybe, eventually, soon – and the world I’ll leave a child and what it’ll be like when I’m gone and when Margaret is gone.