Your money clip is rubbed and tarnished but bears the initials of each grandchild you’ve rocked in your arms. Three boys, three girls – the “perfect-half-dozen” you always say. A laugh very rarely passes between your lips but a heavy mustache (still dark with youth) wiggles with mirth more often than not. You told me once: “I see how obligated you feel to absorb everyone’s emotions around you. Stop, kid. Stop packing around everyone else’s weight.” And today, I thought of you and your liquor store wisdom. I chew on the way you never expect me to come out of my shell because you recognize the fact I don’t have one. You poke and shake and pack all the sarcasm and sass out of me much like the can of Copenhagen you carry in your back pocket before finally letting me see the softness under your shrewdness. There never was any hesitance on your part to ask: “He bothering you?” when a car would stick around too long in the parking lot at night. And there is not once an occasion where, when we part, you don’t give me a private salute.
© Pearl Bayou 2017