"So what do you wanna do today brother Jacob?" "Aaron" I say "you know what we're gonna do"
He can't finish his beer after those stinging words and smashes it against the side of the dumpster, he's been dreading this. I wait as he howls at himself and stomps around in circles. I look him in the eye to let him know I'm serious. "You gonna take me to the treatment center?" "you gonna take me to see mah daughter brother jacob??" "yeah" I say, we're going to see your daughter today.
"Wear the Sienfeld jeans, they look beter than those baggy khakis." I say. "Get the beer off your breath man, you don't want to make that kind of impression..." "here, eat some of these crackers and drink some water, I'm not taking you to see her unless your clean and sober, use that bathroom at the gas station to wash up, they won't mind" "You gotta stop cryin man, harden up" Aaron is a wild man at six foot six with a wide lanky gate and a politicians swagger, but he doesn't protest my firm words.
Its St. Patricks day today, so he makes sure his little green sock is displayed in his front pocket. He feels ashamed that he is wearing donated clothes we picked up yesterday, he doesn't like looking shabby. "We'll stop at Fred Meyer and get her a toy and you can pluck a flower from the Easter display" Aaron brings the bunny to the register with an excited swagger, I give him the money to pay for it. He goes to the deoderant isle and puts on some aftershave and spray deoderant. "I smell like an old man now Jake but its better than nothin!" I firmly aprove of his new attitude and assure him that I can no longer smell the beer.
As I drive toward the house, Aaron wrestles between fits of joy and intense dread. Though visiting priveleges are weekly its been a months since he's seen his daughter.
Sabrina is a beautiful 2 year old girl.
Aaron gives her the bunny and the flower out of his shirt pocket. This is all I can see through the glass door on the front porch of the house. His daughters mother glares at me in silence over the end of her cigarette and I take the hint and walk back to my van. Crying but laughing with joy he later says "She...she eheahaha she was trying to feed that little flower to the bunny...didn't seem too bright but shes still too young to tell...". As we leave the nieghborhood Aaron sobs, and I know its no longer for himself.
We arrive at the mall after our quiet drive. Aaron is greatful. He is always thanking me to which I always reply "its nothing man" again "Thanks for takin me ta see mah daughter brother Jacob!" this time he yells lost somewhere between a desperate yell a cry, I look at my feet. He is crying again hugs me now and stops, very serious and genuine "I've gotta stop cryin, harden up" repeating the advice I almost regret giving him now. He lights one more cigerette as he always does and awkwardly backs away... "I'll call you tomorrow brotha Jacob! (talking through the cottony smoke) We'll go see my brother...I love my brother..."
- ▼ April (12)