Two months after I left for Taiwan, I got a phone call. “Jess, your mom and I have something to tell you . . .” My parents were getting divorced. After nearly 28 years, my mom had made up her mind — it was over.
The conversation wasn’t long. There wasn’t much to say. I couldn’t say I was shocked. I’d seen the disconnect between my parents for years — both of them trying, each in their own way, to bridge the gap. Both of them failing. I’d convinced myself that they were going to make it, knowing, deep down, I was wrong.
After we got off the phone, I sat on my black bedspread and stared at the brightly polished wood floor that I’d scrubbed and scrubbed when I’d first arrived. Outside my window, the dark sky began to rain. I didn’t notice. My mind was empty; my emotions, numb. I wondered, blankly, how my brother would take the news. Continue reading
My dad with his dad, 1956.
We start out mere mortals,
’til “Father” turns son.
It’s then our potential
“forever” is won.
We live through our children,
and they on through theirs.
So what will we show them?
How say, “Daddy cares”?
Dad’s love for the water started early. (Dad, right, with his brother Verlin in their backyard in Riverside, late 1950s.)
Lub-dub. Lub-dub. Two kids in a tub.
It’s here I’m no expert,
but look to the best.
And he to his own dad—
they both passed the test!
With love and compassion,
through fire and through ice,
they gave with devotion,
and never thought twice: Continue reading
She was gangly. I was early. While I waited, sipping my cappuccino in a corner, I watched her. Except for one scraggly strand at her temple, her thin yellow hair was pulled tightly to a bun on the top of her head. The loose strand was hot pink. Piercings filled with metal ran up and down her ears. Her jeans fit like tights.
She went outside to smoke a cigarette; icy air blasted the store as she went. I shivered and shook my head: she was all of about sixteen.
My friends arrived, and, for the moment, she was forgotten. Lost in conversation and the catching up of years, I failed to notice her reenter the store or the way she was camped out, vacant, on a sofa in the corner.
That is, until the text. Continue reading
She took the room by surprise. Or maybe it was just me. I noticed her as soon as I walked in.
She had on hot pink shorts two sizes too small, and a bikini top over breasts two sizes too big. Across her back and on her arms and legs were tattoos; her ample girth jiggled as she walked. Even more interesting was her hair. Pixie length and bleach-blonde, her “locks” were pulled into pigtails that looked like sprouts coming out of the sides of her head. Earrings glistened from her ears.
Most noticeable, though, were her eyes. They were dark and masked by makeup and . . . bruises?
She was toting a three-year-old. Continue reading
She was gangly. I was early. While I waited, sipping my cappuccino in a corner, I watched her. Except for one tangled strand at her temple, her thin yellow hair was pulled tightly to a bun on the top her head. The loose strand was hot pink. Piercings filled with metal ran up and down her ears. Her jeans were like tights.
She went outside to smoke a cigarette; icy air blasted the store as she went.
I shivered and shook my head: she was all of about sixteen. Continue reading