The grungy green Tercel carried my brother and I for ten hours.
Rows of corn whizzed by,
the stink of cow-city clung in the car,
Mother broke out in show tunes, our legs cramped
on the trip to San Francisco.
A month of clothes dragged from the car
to the familiar stranger’s paint-cracked apartment.
Crooked fingers of unkempt bushes grabbing as we walked through the doorway.
A welcome pancake breakfast. Tradition. Denny’s.
Off to work. But I go surf with the remote
tight in my clutch. Unfamiliar channels
blinking by. The green tile floor stealing
the heat from beneath our feet.
Six o’clock he’s back. With another stranger insisting
I had met him years ago. They turn to each other
Foreign words, unheard stories, the flash of the television
incessantly sucking away my tan.
Boxed cereal breakfast. Bagged, fast-lunch.
Dine-out dinner. Tradition. Leftover.
We wince in pain as we step out the apartment.
The evening sun blinding and relentless.
The rest of July to go.
Presents presented for a presence resented
The summer month gone by
I eagerly await the grungy green Tercel.
The show tunes and leg-cramps forever
more favorable than a frozen month
This is one of my beautiful children having fun as we sang “Man in the Mirror” during one of those long road trips to his dad’s. Co-parenting with somebody who you know is neglectful and will probably break your children’s hearts leave you with the feeling of a pitchfork being stuck in your gut as you walk away from them. Still, you have to step back with prayers and hope that somehow the other parent has learned to self-love and thereby love his children.
I am eternally grateful that, despite many things I lacked myself as a parent, I gave them enough love and security and had a hand in them growing up to be self-aware, strong-willed and unique individuals. They are most certainly their very own selves 🙂