she was with her kids and they were teenagers now. all ready to cuss and punch. and for some reason she took their disdain personally, even though it was that time in a kid's life when it's natural to hate everything, or so i thought.
but i was walking with the boys dockside, and one kept stomping around. the younger told him, "you'll break your mother's back" and he said, "good." and kept on stepping on cracks.
they'd come from the desert and kept asking about cicadas and the different types of trees.
she was separated from them most of the time because her husband went crazy during the war and left her.
the eighteen year difference must be what does it. i have no choice but to look for her approval. even when she's all bleach blonde, fake tan, pancake-make-uped and doing her nails. cotton candy lipstick and layers of mascara. she could go without anything on her face and be beautiful. but it must be the job at the generic american food restaurant that demands she wear a mask like this.
the boys chose to ride in my car and the next time she was with me she put a cigarette between her cotton candy lips and said, "i think my boys hate me." i wanted to tell her it was not true.
it was so hot that the atlantic looked steamy. we climbed a sand dune and the sea oats were as still as the sunshine.
the older one ran straight toward the water. the younger started after him, then as if he'd entered a flashback and was six years old again (before the divorce, before smoking and pain pills, before either of them knew how to really hate) turned and yelled, "Look Mama, the ocean!"