I remember you, sitting there cross legged on the balcony. Shorts were too short, your ass was hanging out, but you never cared. Natural Ice in one hand, loose bun knotted at the crown of your head, thin chocolate brown with streaks of grey. You are getting old. I was inside, looking out. Your cheeks were round and fat like a baby, smiling at me and toothless, pinky out, lifting the beer to your thin dry lips. You looked happy, but I could see through. Smile slanted sparkly blue eyes, but glossed over and giggling with that warm feeling of apartness from your body; the feeling you chased with tunnel vision, obstructing all else.
I remember you there and was thinking maybe I couldn't blame you. Maybe you were turning backward, back into a child and I had to scold you and say something cutting so you'd feel ashamed. You took it like a man, ma. Didn't say a word back to me, and in turn I felt ashamed.
Then cheated. Thought about all those things we'd missed because of that little blue can in your hand and lack of accountability. You've always had someone to bail you out. "The Lord will provide" you said when we were losing our house and dad loaded us up and took us away to something better. "The Lord will provide" you said when you finally came back after years and then ran out of resources and people to sponge off of and then turned tail and ran back under the rock you came from. Well it's not "the Lord" providing. It's people who care about you and remember who you were once and see a little shimmer of that in you still. It's those people that are providing, and you're leaching.
But when I think of you with your rosy cheeks and your toothless face-splitting grin, I want to cradle you up and tell you all about who you can be when you grow up, the places you can go, adventures to be had, love to be found and lost and found again; what your kids might be like, how they'll admire you and say the things you say and want to be just like you. How you can be whatever you want to be when you get big. But I'm too late for all that. So now I'll just say you should know we loved you once, and you're missing out.