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Breaking Night(风雨哈佛路小说英文版).pdfBreaking Night(风雨哈佛路小说英文版).pdf -- 3 元

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BreakingNightAMEMOIROFFORGIVENESS,SURVIVAL,ANDMYJOURNEYFROMHOMELESSTOHARVARDLIZMURRAYThisbookisdedicatedtothreepeoplewhoselovemadeitpossible.TOEDWINFERMIN,fortheyearsbehindus,fortheyearsaheadofus,sidebyside.Thankyoufortakingcareofmyfatherwhenweneededyou.Thankyouforsharingyourdreamswithmeandforbeingmyfamily.Thankyouforbeingmynomatterwhat.WhenIlookatallthegoodinmylife,insideallofit,Iseeyou.TOARTHURFLICK,forthefishingtrips,themotorcyclerides,thecampingandeachoneofouradventuresthatIwillalwayscherish.ThankyouforbeingmyGuardianAngelandmyheartscompass.Youwereright,Arthur,youdogettochooseyourfamily.TOROBINDIANELYNNaTrusting,PowerfulandGivingwoman.Robin,youareabeautifulsoulandtheembodimentofcontribution.Thisworldwasblessedtohaveyouinit.Becauseofyou,somanyofusareblessedstill.Thankyouforshowingmewhatitlooksliketostandinacommitment,comewhatmay.Dontletwhatyoucannotdointerferewithwhatyoucando.COACHJOHNWOODENThosewhowishtosingalwaysfindasong.SWEDISHPROVERBBreakingNightURBANSLANGFORstayingupthroughthenight,untilthesunrises.2ContentsEpigraphPrologueChapter1UniversityAvenueChapter2MiddleofEverythingChapter3TsunamiWeatherChapter4UnravelingChapter5StuckChapter6BoysChapter7BreakingNightChapter8TheMotelsChapter9PearlsChapter10TheWallChapter11TheVisitorChapter12PossibilityEpilogueAcknowledgmentsAPersonalInvitationfromLizMurrayAbouttheAuthorPraiseforBreakingNightCopyright3PrologueIHAVEJUSTONEPICTURELEFTOFMYMOTHER.ITS4x7,BLACKANDWHITE,andcreasedindifferentplaces.Init,sheisseatedslightlyhunched,elbowstouchingknees,armscarryingtheweightofherback.Iknowverylittleaboutherlifewhenitwastakenmyonlyclueiswritteninorangemarkerontheback.ItreadsMeinfrontofMikeson6thSt.1971.Countingbackward,Iknowthatshewasseventeenwhenitwastaken,ayearolderthanIamnow.IknowthatSixthStreetisinGreenwichVillage,thoughIhavenoideawhoMikeis.Thepicturetellsmethatshewasasternlookingteenager.Herlipsarepressedtogetherinthought,offeringagrimaceforthecamera.Framingherface,herhairdanglesinbeautifulwispsofblack,smokelikecurls.Andhereyes,myfavoritepart,shineliketwodarkmarbles,theirmovementsfrozenintimeforever.Ivestudiedeachfeature,committingthemtomemoryformytripstothemirror,whereIletmyownwavyhairtumbledown.Istandandtracesimilaritieswiththetipofmyfingerthroughthecurveofeachlineinmyface,startingwithoureyes.Eachpairoffersthesamesmall,roundedshape,onlyinsteadofmymothersbrown,IhaveGrandmasrichyellowgreen.Next,Imeasuretheoutlineofourlipsthin,curvy,andidenticalineveryway.Althoughwesharesomefeatures,IknowImnotasprettyasshewasatmyage.Inmyyearswithnowheretolive,behindthelockedbathroomdoorsindifferentfriendsapartments,Ivesecretlyplayedthisgameinthemirrorthroughoutallhoursofthenight.Tuckedinbytheirparents,myfriendssleepwhileimagesofmymothersgracefulmovementsdancethroughoutmymind.Ispendthesehoursinfrontoftheirbathroommirrors,mybarefeetcooledbygriddedtiles,palmspressedonthesinksedgetosupportmyweight.Istandtherefantasizinguntilthefirstbluehintsofdawnstrainthroughthefrostedbathroomglassandbirdsannouncethemselves,chirpingtheirmorningsongs.IfImatJamieshouse,thisisjustthetimetoslipontothecouchbeforehermothersalarmbeepsherawake,sendinghertothebathroom.IfImatBobbys,thegrindingnoiseofthegarbagetrucktellsmeitstimetosneakbacktothefoldoutcot.Itravelquietlyacrosstheirwakingapartmentstomyrestingspot.Inevergettoocomfortablewithmyaccommodations,becauseImnotsureifIwillsleepinthesameplacetomorrow.Lyingonmyback,Irunmyfingertipsovermyfaceinthedark,andIenvisionmymother.Thesymmetryofourliveshasbecomeclearertomelately.Shewashomelessatsixteentoo.Maalsodroppedoutofschool.Likeme,Mamadedailydecisionsbetweenhallwayorpark,subwayorrooftop.TheBronx,forMa,alsomeantwanderingthroughdangerousstreets,throughneighborhoodswithlamppostslitteredwithflyersofpolicesketchesandsirensblaringatallhoursofthenight.Iwonderif,likeme,Maspentmostdaysafraidofwhatwouldhappentoher.Imafraidallthetimelately.IwonderwhereIwillsleeptomorrowatanotherfriendsapartment,onthetrain,orinsomestairwellTracingmyfingertipsovermyforehead,downtomylips,Ilongtofeelmymotherswarmbodyembracingmeagain.Thethoughtsendstearsstreamingfrommyeyes.Iturntomyside,wipingmytearsaway,coveringmyselfwithmyborrowedblanket.Ipushthefeelingofneedingherfaroutofmymind.IpushitbeyondthesewallslinedwithBobbysfamilyportraitspastthedrunkenLatinomenjustoutside,slammingdownwinninghandsofdominoes,seatedatopmilkcratesonFordhamRoadawayfromtheorangeblinkinglightsofthebodegasandovertherooftopsofthisBronxneighborhood.Iforcemythoughtsto4fadeuntilthedetailsofherfaceblur.IneedtopushthemawayifIamevertogetsomesleep.IneedsleepitwillbeonlyafewmorehoursbeforeImoutsideonthestreetagain,withnowheretogo.Ma,6thStreet,GreenwichVillage,1971Chapter1UniversityAvenueTHEFIRSTTIMEDADDYFOUNDOUTABOUTME,ITWASFROMBEHINDglassduringaroutinevisittoprison,whenMaliftedhershirt,tearyeyed,exposingherpregnantbellyforemphasis.Mysister,Lisa,thenjustoveroneyearold,satproppedagainstMaship.Reflectingonthistimeinherlife,Mawouldlaterexplain,Itwasntsupposedtoturnoutthatway,pumpkin.ItwasntlikemeandDaddyplannedforthis.Eventhoughshedbeenonherownandintroublewithdrugssinceagethirteen,Mainsisted,Daddyandmeweregonnaturnaround.Somewheredowntheline,weweregonnabelikeotherpeople.Daddywasgonnagetarealjob.Iwasgonnabeacourtstenographer.Ihaddreams.Mausedcoke,shootingdissolvedwhitedustintoherveinsittraveledthroughherbodymuchlikelightning,ignitingher,givingthefeel,howeverfleeting,ofsomethingforwardmoving,dayinanddayout.Alift,shecalledit.Shestartedusingasateenagerherownhomehadbeenaplaceofanger,violence,andabuse.Grandmawasjustnuts,Lizzy.Popwouldcomehomedrunkandbeatthecrapoutofus,withanythingextensioncords,sticks,whatever.Shewouldjustgocleanthekitchen,humming,likenothingwashappening.ThenjustactlikeMaryfrigginPoppinsfiveminuteslater,whenwewereallbustedup.Theoldestoffourchildren,Maoftenspokeoftheguiltsheharboredforfinallyleavingtheabuseandhersiblingsbehind.Shewentoutonthestreetswhenshewasjustthirteen.Icouldntstaythere,notevenforLoriorJohnny.AtleasttheyhadmercyonJimmyandtookhimaway.Man,youbetyourassIhadtogetoutofthere.Beingunderabridgewasbetter,andsafer,thanbeingthere.IhadtoknowwhatitwasMadidunderbridges.Well,Idunno,pumpkin,meandmyfriendsallhungoutandtalked...aboutlife.About5ourlousyparents.Abouthowwewerebetteroff.Wetalked...andIguesswegothigh,andafterthat,itdidntmatterwherewewere.Mastartedoutsmall,smokinggrassandsniffingglue.Duringtheyearsofheradolescence,movingbetweenfriendscouchesandearningherlivingthroughteenprostitutionandoddjobslikebikemessengering,shemovedontospeedandheroin.TheVillagewasawildplace,Lizzy.Ihadthesethick,tallleatherboots.AndIdidntcareifIwasskinnyashellIworeshortshortsandacapedownmyback.Yeah,thatsright,acape.Iwascool,too.Jivin,man.Thatshowweusedtotalk.Pumpkin,youshouldhaveseenme.BythetimeMametDaddy,cokehadbecomeapopularseventiestrend,alongsidehiphuggers,muttonchops,anddiscomusic.MadescribedDaddyatthetimetheyfirsthookedupasdark,handsome,andsmartashell.Hejustgotthings,yaknowWhenmostoftheguysIhungarounddidntknowtheirassfromtheirelbow,yourfatherhadsomethingabouthim.Iguessyoucouldsayhewassharp.Daddycamefromamiddleclass,IrishCatholicfamilyinthesuburbs.Hisfatherwasashippingboatcaptainandaviolentalcoholic.Hismotherwasahardworkingandwillfulwomanwhorefusedtoputupwithwhatshecalledfoolishnessfrommen.Allyouneedtoknowaboutyourgrandfather,Lizzy,isthathewasanasty,violentdrunkwholikedtobullypeople,Daddyoncetoldme,andyourgrandmotherdidnttolerateit.Shedidntcarehowunpopulardivorcewasbackthen,shegotherselfone.UnfortunatelyforDaddy,whenhisparentsmarriageended,hisfatherlefthim,andhenevercameback.Hewasarealpieceofwork,Lizzy.Itsprobablybetterhewasntaround,thingswerenteasyandheonlywouldhavemadethemworse.PeoplewhoknewDaddywhenhewasgrowingupdescribehimasalonelychildandahurtsoulwhoneverseemedtogetoverhisfathersabandonmentandhisresultingstatusaslatchkeykid.HismothertookonademandingfulltimejobtomakeendsmeetandsheworkedlonghourswhileDaddywasmostlyalone,searchingforanoutlet,someoneorsomethingtoconnectwith.Mostnights,hespenteveningsbyhimself,orinthehomesoffriends,wherehebecameafixtureinotherpeoplesfamilies.Backathishouse,heandGrandmagrewdistant,andthingsweremostlyseriousandsilentbetweenthem.Yourgrandmotherwasntthetalkativetype,hetoldmeoneday,whichwasveryIrishCatholicofher.Inourfamily,ifyousaidthewordsIfeel,theybetterbefollowedwithhungryorcold.Becausewedidntgetpersonal,thatsjusthowitwas.ButwhatGrandmalackedinwarmth,shemadeupforinhertirelessdevotiontosecuringhersonsfuture.DeterminednottoletDaddysufferfromtheabsenceofhisfather,Grandmasetouttogivehimthebesteducationshecouldafford.SheworkedtwobookkeepingjobsinordertoputheronlychildthroughthebestCatholicschoolsonLongIsland.AtChaminade,aschoolwithareputationforbeingrigorousandelite,Daddysharedclassesandasociallifewithamorewelltodocrowdthanhedeverknownexisted.Mostofhisclassmatesweregivennewcarsasgiftsontheirsixteenthbirthdays,whileDaddytooktwobusestoschool,hismotherprayingthatthemonthlytuitioncheckwouldntclearthroughthebankbeforeherpaycheckdid.Theironywas,asmuchasthisupperclass,privateschoolsettingwasmeanttopositionDaddyforalifeofsuccess,instead,itwouldputmyfatheratoddswithhimselfforeverinthisenvironmenthebecamebothwelleducatedandadrugaddict.Throughouthislateteenyears,DaddyreadthegreatAmericanclassicsvacationedinhisclassmatesbeachfrontsummerhomes,ignoringhismothersincessantphonecallsandasapastime,poppedamphetaminesbeneaththebleachersofthehighschoolfootballfield.6Thoughhedalwaysbeenquicktolearnandabsorbedmuchofhisrigorouseducation,thedrugsmadeithardtoconcentrateinschool,soheslackedonhomeworkanddozedinclass.Inhislastyear,DaddyappliedandwasadmittedtoacollegelocatedrightintheheartofNewYorkCity.Whengraduationrolledaround,hejustbarelysqueakedby.Manhattanwasmeanttobehisrealstartinlife,collegehisspringboard.Butitwasntlongbeforehishighschoolsettingrecastitselfaroundhim,exceptnowhewasolderandnotinthesuburbsofBaldwin,NewYork,butinthecenterofeverything.Inafewyearstime,Daddycametoapplyhisaptitudemoretowardpeddlingdrugsthanhiscollegework.Slowly,herosetothetopranksofasmallcliqueofdrugpushers.Beingthemosteducatedmemberofthegroup,hewasnicknamedtheprofessor,andwaslookedtoforguidance.Hewastheonewhodrewblueprintsforthegroupsschemes.Daddyabandonedschoolwhenhewastwoyearsintoagraduatedegreeinpsychology,atimeduringwhichhealsogainedsomeexperienceinsocialwork,earningslightlyaboveminimumwage.Buttheupkeepinvolvedmaintainingtwoveryseparatelivesalegitimateattemptatthestraightlifeversusthehighliferequiredtoomucheffort.Hislucrativedrugearningshadagravityfartoopowerfulitsimplyoutweighedwhatanaveragelifeseemedtooffer.SoherentedanEastVillageapartmentandworkedfulltimeinthedrugtrade,surroundedbyodd,lowerManhattantypeswithcriminalrecordsandgangaffiliationshiscrew.ItsohappenedthatMawashittingthesamescene,rightaroundthissametime,floatinginthesameoffbeatcrowd.Yearsdowntheline,theyconnectedatamutualfriendsloftapartment.Speedandcokeweredistributedascasuallyassoftdrinks,andpeoplediscoedthenightawaysurroundedbysoftglowinglavalamps,theairperfumedbyincense.Theydmetafewtimesbefore,whenDaddyddealtMaspeedorheroin.Comingfromthestreets,MasfirstimpressionsofDaddyweresomethinglikeanencounterwithamoviestar.Youjusthadtoseethewayyourfatherworkedtheroom,shedtellme.Hecalledalltheshots,commandedrespect.Whentheyhookedup,MawastwentytwoandDaddywasthirtyfour.Madressedfortheseventies,inflowerchildblousesandnearlyinvisibleshortshorts.Daddydescribedherasradiantandwildlookingwithlong,wavyblackhairandbright,piercingambereyes.Daddysaidhetookonelookatherandlovedherinnocence,yetalsohertoughnessandherintensity.Shewasunpredictable,hesaid.Youcouldnttellifshewascalculatingortotallynaive.Itwaslikeshecouldgoeitherway.Theyconnectedimmediately,andinmanywaysbecamelikeanyothernewcouple,passionateandeagertobewitheachother.Butinsteadoftakinginmoviesorhittingrestaurants,shootingupwastheircommonground.Theyusedgettinghightofindintimacy.Slowly,MaandDaddyabandonedtheircrowdstobetogether,takinglongwalksdownManhattanstreets,claspinghands,warminguptoeachother.TheycarriedsmallbaggiesofcocaineandbottlesofbeertoCentralPark,wheretheyperchedonhilltopstosprawloutinthemoonlightandgethigh,anchoredineachothersarms.Ifmyparentsliveshadhelddifferentdegreesofpromisebeforetheymet,itdidnttakelongfortheirpathstorunentirelyparallel.Theprematurestartofourfamilyleveledthem,whentheybeganlivingtogetherinearly1977.Lisa,myoldersister,wasborninFebruary1978,whenMawastwentythree.InLisasinfancy,myparentsinitiatedoneofDaddysmorelucrativedrugscams.TheplotinvolvedfakingtheexistenceofadoctorsofficeinordertolegitimizethepurchaseofprescriptionpainkillersthatDaddysaidwerestrongenoughtoknockoutahorse.Typicallyreservedforcancerpatientsonhospice,justoneofthetinypillshadastreetvalueoffifteendollars.Onhisgraduatestudentclientelealone,Daddycouldusephonyprescriptionstounload7hundredsofthesepillsperweek,earningMaandDaddythousandsofdollarseverymonth.Daddywentthroughgreatpainstoavoidgettingcaught.Patienceandattentiontodetailwouldkeepthemoutofjail,heinsisted.Ithadtobedoneright,hesaid.Meticulously,DaddyusedthephonebookalongwithmapsofallfiveboroughsofNewYorkCitytocarefullycreateascheduleofpharmaciestheywouldhitsystematically,weekbyweek.Theriskiestpartofthescam,byfar,wasactuallywalkingintothepharmacytocollectonaprescription,ataskmaderiskierbythepharmacistslegalobligationtophonedoctorsandverifyallscriptsforpainpillsasstrongasthese.Daddydevisedawaytointerceptpharmacistscalls.Thephonecompanyatthetimedidntverifydoctorscredentials,soDaddyfrequentlyorderedandabandonednewphonenumbersundernameshepickedoutofthinair,orsometimeshedrewideasfromhisformerprofessors,Dr.Newman,Dr.Cohen,andDr.Glasser.Thepharmacistsdidindeedreachadoctorattheotherendoftheirphonecallsasecretaryevenpatchedthemthrough.ButreallyitwasonlyMaandDaddyworkingtogetherasateam.Theyworkedlongdays,utilizingrentbytheweekroomsinflophousesacrossNewYorkCitywhilefriendscaredforLisa,whoatthattimewasonlyafewmonthsold.TheprescriptionsthemselvesDaddycreatedwiththehelpofhiscrew.Hegavefriendsinaprintingshopacutofhisprofitsinexchangeforanongoingsupplyofillegal,custommaderubberstampsbearingthenamesofthephonydoctorsandasupplyoflegitimatelookingprescriptionpads.Withthehelpofhisconnections,andforthecostoftwentyfivedollarsperpad,Daddytransformedblankprescriptionsintogold,astampbystampmoneymakingmachine.Bydesign,Daddysaid,hisplanwasairtightandwouldhavecontinuedtoworkifnotforMasslipup.Thoughhedidclaimresponsibilityforatleasthalfofthemistake,admitting,Wenevershouldhavebeenusingfromourownsupply,thatsarookiemove.Gettinghookedonyourownstashfogsyourhead,makesyoudesperate.ButtherewasnowaytotellwhetheritwasMasaddictionthatmadeherdesperateenoughtoignoretheobviousredflag,orifitwassimplyMastypicalimpatience.DaddyhadbeencarefultowarnMaofthesignsthatapharmacistwasontoyousurely,ifyoudroppedoffaprescriptionforhighlysuspiciouspainmedsatapharmacyoneentiredayprior,therecouldonlybeonereasonforapharmacisttoinstructyoutowaittwentyadditionalminuteswhenyouarrivedhewascallingthepolice,andyoushouldgetoutofthereasfastaspossible.DaddyhadwarnedMaofthisscenario,madeitperfectlyclear.Butonthedayofherarrest,Ma,whowasknownforbeingrelentlessandneverbackingdownfromsomethingshewanted,wouldlaterexplain,Ijustcouldntnotcomeback,Lizzy.Therewasachancehewasgonnagivemethepills,yaknowIhadtotry.Shewashandcuffedinbroaddaylightandmarchedunceremoniouslyintoanearbypolicecruiserbyanofficerwhohadrespondedtothecallhopingcorrectlythathewouldcatchthecriminalsresponsibleforhittingcountlesspharmaciesthroughoutthefiveboroughs.Unknowingly,Mawasalreadypregnantwithme.Foroverayear,theFedshadbeencompilingevidencethatincludedapapertrailandastringofsecuritycamerafootagethatundeniablylinkedMaandDaddytonearlyeverypharmacyhit.Ifthatwasntenough,whentheFedskickedinthedoortoarrestDaddy,theyfoundbagsofcocaineanddozensofpillslitteredacrossthetabletopoftheirEastVillageapartment,alongwithluxuryitemslikeaclosetfulofminkfurs,dozensofleathershoes,leathercoats,goldjewelry,thousandsofdollarsincash,andevenaglasstankholdinganenormousBurmesepython.Daddy,whohadorchestratedandexecutedthemajorityoftheirillegalactivities,washit8withnumerouscountsoffraud,includingimpersonatingadoctor.Onhisdayincourt,fordramaticeffect,theprosecutionwheeledintothecourthousethreeshoppingcartsbrimmingwithprescriptions,allofwhichboreDaddyshandwritingandfraudulentstamps.Anythingtosayforyourself,Mr.Finnertythejudgeasked.No,yourhonor,hesaid.Ithinkthatspeaksforitself.Inallofthis,theyalmostlostcustodyofLisapermanently,butMamaintainedstrictattendanceinaparentalreformprograminthemonthsbetweenherarrestandhereventualsentencing.This,combinedwithaverypregnantbellyonherdayincourt,solicitedjustenoughleniencytogethersetfree.Daddywasntsolucky.Hereceivedathreeyearsentence.HewastransportedfromholdingtoPassaicCountyJailinPatterson,NewJersey,thedayRonaldReaganwaselectedpresident.OnthedayMawastobesentenced,shebroughtwithhertwocartonsofcigarettesandarollofquarters,certainthatshewoulddotime.Butinamovethatsurprisedeveryoneinthecourthouse,rightdowntoMaslawyer,thejudgelookedheroverwithpity,thenmerelyorderedprobationandcalledthenextcase.Thebailmoney,onethousanddollarstheverylastofmyparentsearningsfromtheirheydaywasreleasedtoherinacheckonherwayoutthedoor.Checkinhand,Masawanopportunitytostartover,andshetookit.Thebailwentforcansoffreshpaint,thickcurtains,andwalltowallcarpetingforeveryroominourthreebedroomBronxapartmentonUniversityAvenue,inwhatwouldsoonbecomeoneofthemostcrimeriddenareasinallofNewYorkCity.Iwasbornonthefirstdayofautumn,attheendofalongheatwavethathadtheneighborhoodkidsforcingopenthefirehydrantsforrelief,andhadMalodgingloud,buzzingfansineverywindow.OntheafternoonofSeptember23,1980,Daddyinholding,butawaitinghissentencereceivedaphonecallfromCharlotte,mymothersmother,informinghimthathisdaughterhadbeenborn,withdrugsinhersystembutnobirthdefects.Mahadntbeencarefulduringeitherpregnancy,butbothLisaandIwerelucky.Ipeedalloverthenurseandwasdeclaredhealthyatninepounds,threeounces.Shelookslikeyou,Peter.Hasyourface.Fromhiscelllaterthatnight,DaddynamedmeElizabeth.BecauseDaddyandMawereneverlegallymarriedandhewasnttheretoverifypaternity,IgotMaslastname,Murray.Anewcribinmyownfreshlydecoratednurseryawaitedmeathome.Manevergotoverthelookonhercaseworkersfacewhenshearrivedtocheckonus.LisaandIweredressedinbrandnewclothing,theapartmentwasspotless,andthefridgewaspackedwithfood.Mabeamedproudlyandreceivedaglowingreport.Shewasissuedsteadyincomefromwelfaretotakecareofus,andwestartedonournewbeginning,asafamily.ThenextfewyearsweremappedbyMassolovisitstoDaddy,andhereffortstogainassistanceinherroleasanewlysober,singleparent.Onceinawhile,throughthesidedoorofnearbyTolentineChurch,anunpassedMafreebricksofAmericancheeseandoversizedtubsofsaltfreepeanutbutterthatcamewithloavesofuncutbreadinlong,brownpaperbags.Withpackagesfillingherarms,Mawouldstandstillforthesisterwhileshewavedthesignofthecrossoverthethreeofus.Onlythenwereweallowedtogo,Lisahelpingtopushmystrolleralong.Thesesupplies,alongwithraisinpacketsandoatmeal,werewhatwehadforbreakfastsandsnacks.DownatMetFoodsupermarket,porkhotdogswereonlyninetyninecentsforapackofeight.Dinnerswerethesediscountfrankscutintothickslices,withwarmscoopsofboxedmacaroniandcheese.9Whenitcametoclothing,althoughwednevermether,Daddysmotherhelpedus.OnholidaysshemailedpackagesfromaplacecalledLongIsland,whereDaddysaidthestreetswerelinedwithbeautifulhouses.Theboxeswerereusedfrombulkpurchasesofpapertowelsorbottledwater,buttheycarriedtreasureinside.Underlayersofnewspaper,wefoundbrightclothing,smallkitchensupplies,andfreshlybaked,sweetsmellingwalnutbrowniesindecorativetins,whichcollectedinaclumsystacknexttothenofrillscansinourkitchencabinet.PolitelittlenoteswrittenincarefulscriptwhichManeverbotheredtoreadcamepinnedtotheopeningcardboardflap,sometimeswithacrispfivedollarbilltapedneatlyinside.Mathrewawaythenotes,butkeptthemoneywrappedinarubberbandinasmallredboxonthedresser.Wheneverthewadgrewthickenough,shetookustoMcDonaldsforHappyMeals.Forherself,shepickeduppacksofWinstoncigarettes,beerintall,darkbottles,andMuenstercheese.WhenIwasthreeyearsold,Daddyfannedouthisreleasepapersbesidemeonthekingsizedmattressinmyparentsroom.IstaredupinwonderatthesoundofamansvoiceintheapartmentatthewayMamovedgingerlyaroundhimintheafternoonsunlight.Hismovementswerequickandimpatient,makingithardtofocusonthefeaturesofhisface.Imyourfather,heenunciatedloudlyfromunderhisnewsboycap,asthoughhissternnessshouldimpactmyunderstanding.Instead,Ihidbehindmymotherslegsandcriedsoftlyinconfusion.Thatnight,Ispenttheeveningaloneinmyownbed,ratherthanbesideMa.Myparents,togetherforthefirsttimeinmylife,weremuddledvoicesrisingandfallingunpredictablythroughthethickdoorthatseparatedourrooms.Inthemonthsthatfollowed,Magrewmorelaidbackaboutkeepingupwiththings.Choreswereneglecteddirtydishessatuntouchedfordaysinthekitchensink.Shetookustotheparklessoften.IsatathomeforhourswaitingtobesweptupinMasactivities,andcouldntunderstandwhytheynolongerincludedme.Feelingpushedoutbythesechanges,Ibecamedeterminedtofindmywaybacktoher.IlearnedthatMaandDaddysharedstrangehabitstogether,thefulldetailsofwhichwerehiddenfromme.Ritualistically,theywouldspreadspoonsandotherobjectsalongthekitchentableinsomekindofurgentpreparation.Overthedisplay,theycommunicatedinquick,briefcommandstoeachother.Waterwasneededasmallamountfromthefaucetandsowereshoelacesandbelts.Iwasnotsupposedtobotherthem,butobservingtheirbusyhandsfromadistancewasallowed.Fromthedoorway,Ioftenwatched,tryingtounderstandthemeaningbehindtheiractivity.ButeachtimeMaandDaddyweredonesettingthestrangeobjectsacrossthetable,attheverylastminute,oneofthemwouldclosethekitchendoor,blockingmyviewentirely.ThisremainedamysteryuntilonesummereveningwhenIparkedmyselfinmystrollerwhichIwoulduseuntilitfinallygaveundermyweightinfrontofthekitchen.Whenthedoorwasclosedtomeagain,IdidntbudgefromwhereIsat,butremainedandwaited.IwatchedroachesweavingtheirwayinandoutofthedoorcrackarecentadditiontotheapartmentsinceMahadstoppedcleaningregularlywhileeachminutedraggedby.WhenMafinallyemerged,herfacewastense,herlipspursedtogether.Sensingthattheyhadfinished,Isaidsomethingthatwouldberetoldtomeinstoryformforyears.Iraisedmyarmsintotheair,andgaveasingsong,Allldone.Takenoffguard,Mapaused,leanedinandaskeddisbelievingly,Whatdidyousay,pumpkin
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