I’ve been thinking about who I used to be, who all of the people I was, or am, close to used to be. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about my niece’s dad, my sister’s first husband.
I’ve been wondering how he morphed into a Rush Limbaugh devotee. He loved my sister. My whole family loved him. He used to sing Marshall Tucker Band’s Can’t You See “What that woman she been doin’ to me” and Heard it in a Love Song to her- “I ain’t never been with a woman long enough for my boots to get old. We’ve been together so long now they both need resoled.” He bought roses and rings for her. He had a Kawasaki 900 in 1982. The day after my sister’s high school graduation, she got on the back of that bike and rode off to a new life with him. They both worked hard and, like me, they played hard.
When my niece was born, my sister discovered a foundation for her life. She and her husband parted and reconciled a few times. She had another little girl. She separated from the girls’ dad but not before she used her medical benefits to send him to a rehab for his crystal meth and alcohol addictions. She focused on making a better life for her little girls. She went to nursing school, while she worked and took care of them. I helped. Their dad didn’t so I did. In exchange, my sister shared her girls with me.
We had a lot of fun, all of us girls, no money but lots of fun. Those little girls had no idea that they had nothing because we made nothing seem like quite a lot. My sister did not date through those years. She willingly gave all of her time to her family. We’re one girl less than we used to be. We cried together. My sister pretty much crawled into bed for a year after her youngest died. Her former husband didn’t help. He had some friends in AA. They made him feel better about deserting his babies.
Now the oldest baby is all grown up, a wonderful, well-adjusted, young woman. She’s leaving her mom’s and coming to visit me in between jobs and apartments. I am so excited! She wants to buy a house next year. She’s discovered the satisfaction of a decent paycheck and savings. My sister and I are excited for her. We wonder how we will coerce the rest of the family into holidays at my niece’s future home. We connive. Both of my remaining girls are successful beyond my wildest dreams.
My sister and I worry about my niece. We worry that her father will mooch his way out of his unsatisfactory, third, marriage into a spare room at my niece’s. He has made no provision for his life. His daughter is a responsible, forgiving soul, ever ready to open her heart and purse to her dad. We worry about her because she worries about him.
I wonder what happened to him.