Lenny’s gone, but still, I’m thinking about him, about how he’s touched on that time, the lost time nearly five years ago, when I went out the door, swearing I ain’t gonna come back to him, not ever. What he hasn’t said—and what left such a bitter taste in my mouth—is how he told me, back then, “You are a nice kid, Anita. Go, go back to where you came from. Go back to your mama.”
And what he don’t know is that ma wasn’t all too happy to see me, “Because,” she said, “I told you so, didn’t I? Didn’t I say, he’s gonna grow tired of you, and dump you before you know it? He’s gonna go back to his wife, ‘cause it’s her that he wants—not you! And if not her, then—then, it must be something else with him, always something else, like, looking for other women. Maybe they remind him, somehow, of that thing, who knows what it is, which he found in her. Maybe what he’s really looking for is just, like, the idea of her.”
And when I mumbled, “Whatever,” ma said, “I knew it! She can twist him around her little finger, if she wants to.”
She didn’t tell me nothing else about this thing, this idea of her, which ma thought was fixed, somehow, in Lenny’s head, like some piece of music; and I, I didn’t ask. Instead, I bought a six-pack for her and a six-pack for me, and we sat down on her pillows, on the narrow iron bed, drinking beer; she talking, me weeping all night, after which ma wiped my face, and grabbed the palm of my hand—like she used to do in the old days—to read it.
And she told me to stay put, to wait for her, ‘cause she had something crucial, something real big to tell me, like, about the future. I reckon she saw some clue of what was coming—but didn’t quite grasp it, not in full, anyway, ‘cause the next thing you know, ma went out, came back a second later, picked the empty beer bottles, and took them with her. Along the way she gave me a peck, smack in the middle of my forehead, which surprised me.
Then, having kissed me goodbye, she went out again, and then... Then, on her way to work, right there on the corner of Euclid Street—Bang! I could hear the sound, out there—she was killed in a car accident.