I was singing and dancing as safely as I could from behind a steering wheel.
Then I saw my Uncle. He looked skinny. His big black coat nearly buried him. His eyes were frenetic, big and bulging from beneath his hood.He was craving crack. I know the look.
I remembered seeing him walk down the same street this summer, shortly after my grandmother died. He missed her funeral because he was in jail. I had beeped the horn, he looked, and I pulled over. I got out the car. We embraced, hugging longer then usual. Emotions took over. I was about to break down but I held back. I had to be strong for his sake.
"Can you give me a ride?" he asked.
We got in the car.
My Uncle was my grandmother’s baby, the youngest of five children. Everyone worried about how he would take my grandmother's death.
"Lia," he said, "I ain’t trying to do wrong no more. I miss Ma."
I believed him.
But I knew his trying would be harder than just words. He was going to have to fight to stay drug free.
Today, when I saw my Uncle, I didn’t beep the horn.
I didn't pull over this time.
But this time I did break down. By myself.