On March 13th, 2016, ma got a real job. That’s when she told me that I couldn’t be real. The bottom line: ma didn’t want the new employer to find out that I’m real and that we’re related. Ma didn’t want them to find out that we have opinions about things beyond our socio-economic status. Ma wanted to be part of the real economy. I just wanted ma to feel real.
“Shut that shit down,” ma said. By shit, ma meant my blog. By my blog, ma meant me and every single word and syllable that made me possible.
But, I shut it down. I shut myself down for ma because she is my number one and my number two. I shut that shit down so fast lightning’s got nothing on me. I did it for ma because of everything that she has done for me, which really wasn’t much except for providing a roof over my head, at least for most of my existence. Even when we lived in a Buick, we had roof over our heads. Most of all, I did it for ma because who the hell am I to stand in her way, which is always-always our way. We have always been one through the ups and downs and even the eventhoughs.
On March 13th, 2016, ma walked in on me writing what would be my final blog post. “Girl, I got a real job now with real responsibilities. We can’t be acting all ‘fuck this’ and ‘fuck that.'” “Does this mean you’ll be wearing clothes at work?” I asked. “Of course,” ma said. “Well, probably. Depends.”
I never trust ma for more than 30 seconds, but her new job lasted much longer than I expected. Exactly 4 years to be exact. It was a difficult time for me. I only had the memory of my best friend Bobo the Mutt to keep me occupied at night when I was alone and ma was at work participating in the real economy. Ma stopped drinking. I stopped writing. Ma stopped smoking. I started drinking. Ma stopped being ridiculously cruel and insensitive. I became a ridiculously cruel and insensitive drinker. Ma started reading the newspaper. I stopped reading.
Those were the worst years of my life.
I haven’t grown much in 4 years. I still wear the same red shoes because no matter how hard ma worked she never ever made enough in the real economy to accommodate our real needs, but none of that matters anymore. We can barely afford the Buick over our heads now.
On March 13th, 2020, exactly 4 years after my last blog post, ma lost her job, meaning ma lost her way home after getting laid off because there’s no work left for a women behind a bar in city without tourists in the real economy during a pandemic that no one wants to take responsibility for.
Not even the “President” of The United Sates.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” ma said. She was all serious, head down and hands up. The wounds of the past opened up. Secondhand smoke never smelled so good. I mixed her favorite drink.
“I didn’t think he would be elected,” she said. That’s when she puffed a giant cloud of smoke in my face. I inhaled every molecule of that cloud. Even though ma voted for him (twice), once with her real ID and once with her fake ID, she thought he’d never be real REAL. “Who could have imagined?” ma asked. “I don’t know, but what matters is what matters next,” I said.
That’s when I rolled her up in my favorite blanket, pulled out a ragged copy of our favorite story and read to her.
“That night, and for many nights after, the Velveteen Rabbit slept in the Boy’s bed. At first he found it rather uncomfortable, for the Boy hugged him very tight, and sometimes he rolled over on him, and sometimes he pushed him so far under the pillow that the Rabbit could scarcely breathe. And he missed, too, those long moonlight hours in the nursery, when all the house was silent, and his talks with the Skin Horse. But very soon he grew to like it, for the Boy used to talk to him, and made nice tunnels for him under the bedclothes that he said were like the burrows the real rabbits lived in. And they had splendid games together, in whispers, when Nana had gone away to her supper and left the nightlight burning on the mantelpiece. And when the Boy dropped off to sleep, the Rabbit would snuggle down close under his little warm chin and dream, with the Boy’s hands clasped close round him all night long.”
Ma hasn’t left my bed since that day, but it’s okay. I’ve got her back and a plan to burrow us back from the brink of disaster. I’ve also got her drivers license and access to her vast wardrobe of impeccably questionable taste.
“What is real REAL is what you make of it,” ma said that day in 2016. This time, I won’t give up even if it comes for me.