i spent decades trying to escape from my broken brain.
i have tried it my way. always.
i would drink at the bar. sometimes alone.
it would not take long for someone to sense i was not good to myself.
the conversation started by him. any him.
i would smile not hearing anything he said.
i smiled when he asked my name. i always lied.
i used maria a lot. my confirmation name.
a name i hated as much as the aunt who sponsored me.
sometimes i would escape to when i was in pre-school. my nonna allowing me to play in her shed.
those garden tools were worn from her wrinkled and bent fingers
growing roma tomatoes and figs and wild italian greens in her backyard.
my nonna never not ever in her life wore pants. she grabbed the hoe with a flat edge and started breaking up the dry soil.
she filled this huge bucket
to my small hands
“vieni qui,” she smiled. come here.
she cupped my pre-school hands in hers and we scooped the cold water
from the bucket
throwing it on the roots of whatever was growing that season.
we both smiled. we did this again and again until the sun reminded us it was time for my mom to pick me up and drive the 1 mile to my house.
my skirt was just like hers. my wool knee-high socks just like hers. held up with elastic.
when i looked up he was asking if we should get out of her. go somewhere quiet so we could talk some more.
i said sure. why wouldn’t we?