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Loving the absence
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Twirling my hair staring out the window eating toasted spice cake and drinking my coffee white and bitter. Like my late stepfather. He got real mean toward the end, harking back, he said to being an Okie. Passing San Quentin prison the other day, Jody tells me it’s haunted, shouts out her dad Joe’s nickname at the lurking buildings. Joe was my stepfather’s brother, and Jody is my cousin-in-law, and cousin-in-preference. She buoys me up and makes me laugh. Sisters from different misters. No sacred cows anywhere, no sacred pigs either. She rolls down the window and yells “Hey! Remember San Fernando Red!”. She does, they should. Every tough guy’s daughter sees a side of him you and I will never see. We spoke of the way our mothers died, I had forgotten how pissed I was at Hospice, for hinting and hemming around the subject of euthanasia, how I was ready a week before Roland, (Jody’s Uncle Ronnie) was ready to let her go. How her father Joe was terrified that day he died, and that LOOK, that wild-eyed thrashing your head about LOOK of sheer terror – that is something that etches itself on the backs of your eyelids and you hope never never to witness that LOOK ever ever again, and hope you never experience it yourself either. Rubs you raw like Soul Abrasions.

Standing outside, smoking in the backyard with Jody laughing at all these fancy houses and cell tower-hating neighbors, laughing at what they are truly in for. Boy, if they only knew where we really come from – like they should be very afraid, lol. Trailer Park girls living large. “Wow”, she says, “tie-dyed placemats, really? A $500,000 designer kitchen and then you lay down tie-dyed placemats – here’s your true colors, Cuz.” And I say, after placing the basket of paper napkins carefully in the center of the table “Hey, it came with the house.”, and we fall OUT.

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