While waiting at a red light, I saw my mother and her boyfriend. I rolled down the window and asked, “Where are you going?” She said, “Did Baby Danny get the $5.00?”
A simple question, but not. Mother, daughter, grandson. Family. Recent emotions and events. Mother and sister fighting. My sisters at war.
The light turned green. I drove away. I felt a sharp pain in my chest; I thought I was having a heart attack. I haven’t felt like this since I sat my ten-month-old daughter in between my mother and sister as I walked away to surrender myself to the Suffolk County House of Corrections. I grabbed my chest.
There is an exercise that I do with the boys. They brainstorm the question, “What does a perfect community look like?”
“We want our own center to help us.
We want our own bus route.
We want an engineering school.
We need something fun to do, like an arcade.
Yeah, yeah, an arcade,” they all agree.
Recently, I’ve been wondering, “What does a perfect family look like?”
A grandmother who speaks words of life.
Who tells stories about the ‘60’s; and bakes cakes and cookies.
A clean mother, and clean aunts and uncles.
Sisters who love each other regardless their flaws.
A brother who can just be eleven.
I would love.
I would kiss and hug my husband and children without feeling like my mouth is covered with grey masking tape, my hands and feet bound with rope.
After the brainstorm I ask the boys, “What is preventing the neighborhood from being a perfect community?” They blurt out, “It’s us, T.”