Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Year Mom Went into Rehab on Christmas Eve

I flew into Bob Hope International
and stood in the loading zone
under the sun with my bags
for an hour.
I called again.
No one was home.
I took a cab.
The house was empty.
In the living room
a fat Scotch pine
tilted awkwardly in the corner
ornaments still in boxes stacked before it.
I went back outside, sat on the front steps
and lit a cigarette.
Neighbors passed by
on bikes
walking dogs
conspicuously not looking at me.
I lit another cigarette.
My dad rolled up
to a plaintive squeak
as his front tire rubbed against the curb.
He walked towards me across the dry patch of lawn
Where’s Mom?
She’s, uh, gone.
She left?
No. I took her somewhere.
It was bad timing
Sometimes it was really bad timing
Are you hungry?
We walked into the kitchen.
A half-frozen turkey sat stabbed in the sink.
A wine glass lay broken on the linoleum.
Potato peelings stuck like band-aids to the walls and countertops.
Let’s go out.
At the Denny’s on Sepulveda
I ordered the Grand Slam Breakfast
(because they serve it at any time)
and said “Merry Christmas.”

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