"You’ll never amount to anything! You’re nothing but a low-life tramp!”
“Maybe so, Mama, but I learned it right from you!”
“You ungrateful little brat! After all I’ve done for you…”
“Done for me? What exactly is it that you’ve done for me, Mama? You’ve made me into a little you. Isn’t that what you wanted? A little girl, just like you?”
Mama started to pick up the cheap brown crystal-cut dollar store ash tray before noticing the two roaches poking out of the ashes. She changed her mind and whipped the empty Bud bottle at me instead, but not before checking to make sure the last drop was spent.
“Thanks, Mama. Thanks for reminding me your dope comes first.”
“You little wretch. This is how you thank me? You think raising a kid on your own is easy? You think I picked this for a life? You’ve been nothing but bad luck for me since you were born, Cassie Mae, one big bag of broken dreams.” I could have finished that sentence; it was like a lullaby.
“Yeah, well Mama, I never asked to be born of you, and now I’m leaving. You can take your bag of dreams do whatever the hell you want with it because I’m not coming back to you again.”
As I walked out the broken trailer door, I promised myself I wouldn’t look back. Don’t look back Cassie, there’s nothing there. She won’t care, never has, never will. But I wanted her to. I wanted her to care just one little bit about me, as little as you might care for just one split-second about the scraggly, mangy cat you notice limping along on the other side of the street. You think it’s such a sweet little thing, how could someone just let it go?
As the tears filled my eyes I almost couldn’t look back, but I wanted to be that cat, so stupid me looked back anyway. There she sat on the red plastic kitchen chair, her lilac bra strap hanging down her arm, one-hit roach on the clip waiting in her mouth for the flame. I wished she would catch her blonde hair-sprayed head on fire and swallow it down, and not be able to spit it back out, unlike what she did to me.
Just like that she looked over at me, the match flame illuminating her beauty. She needs me! She wants me to stay! I felt the corners of my mouth begin to turn up. My tears slowed. She turned and shook the match stick until the flame went out. She spit out the roach and put her burnt fingertips to her lips. She turned to look at me again. Mama – I’m coming. I started to walk back to the trailer.
Looking straight at me, she raised her right foot and used her pink-polished toes to catch the edge of the broken trailer door, slamming it shut.
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