I was a single mom during most of my kids’ childhoods. They were my life. But I felt like a loser anyway because I never dated, and had never owned a house.
It's easy to avert your eyes. We all do it. But the disparity is always there. Some neighborhoods are so poor that people can't afford cars. Middle-aged men on kid-sized bikes dart in and out of traffic. At night, they bleed into the darkness. My foot stays on the brake staring and not staring, straining and not straining to see them.
Devan sleeps as I wind through the biggest trees. Devan sleeps as I read all the road signs out loud (grandfather tree, one log cabin, tsunami hazard zone). we are both wide awake as I slip and slide down 13 vertical miles of slick red clay, speedometer counting decimals.
It’s been impossible to even glance at him since he said the first irreversible things. This inability to look him in the face is many-faceted. In the beginning, it was the pain of longing and wishing he felt the same. Then there was the avoiding him in the mornings so he couldn’t see me in my tracksuit bottoms and wild, morning hair. And now, with the news of his bedding down with a partner for this globally terrifying event, the avoidance feels more jagged...
...My godmother lived an isolated, sterile existence. She rarely left the house and had no interests or hobbies, nothing she felt passionate about. She had no friends. Apart from her doctor and her priest, her only contact with the outside world was my mother, with whom she spoke on the phone religiously, bridging the five hundred miles between San Francisco and Los Angeles each Sunday.