When Momma came home drunk she’d reel around the room, look at me rheumy eyed, and say: “You’re my little baby boy an’ I’m proud Goddammit!”
That night before I left Charleston for New York I sat in Daddy’s grimy old easy chair.
Momma dropped to the couch and looked around the room like she didn’t know where she was.
Then she caught sight of me:
“You’re my little baby boy–an’ I’m proud, Goddamit!”
‘I’m glad to hear that, Momma .”
“Ya know–your Momma can still get herself a good looking’ man!”
“That’s true Momma. Hell, you can even get some of mine…Momma! I’m movin’ to New York tomorrow and I’m leavin’ in the morning–So this is good-bye.”
“What did you just tell me you was gonna do at 3:15 AM in the mornin’?”
“At daylight Momma. I’m leaving for New York.”
“Some drag queen whispered something to me last night about you havin’ rash ideas! You told some butt ugly drag queen you was leavin’ and not your own Mother?”
“Awwwwww momma…I just mentioned it; I didn’t tell her about it.”
Momma cut her eyes at me and said: “You ain’t goin’ nowhere…b’sides…you ain’t got no money!”
“I been saving and I got friends going too”
“You’ll get your faggot ass killed,” she said. “I like that–let’s see that faggot ass! DROP YOUR DRAWERS BOY!”
I ran to my room and started tossing cloths into an old duffel bag.
Momma came up after me.
She threw the door open. I felt it crack against the wall.
“I BET YOU WAS JUST GONNA SKIP OUTTA HERE AN’ LET EVERYONE ELSE IN TOWN TELL ME YOU WAS GONE!!” she grabbed me by my hair and yanked me out of the room.
“No Momma! I came home to tell you! That’s why I’m here! God…I hate it when you’re drunk.
Momma shook her head and let go of my hair.
She spun around and staggered into her room.
Soon, I heard her weeping.
I went into Momma’s room and knelt by her bed. “Momma,” I whispered, “I don’t want to leave–I have to…”
She wrapped her arms around my neck and pressed my face to her cheek.
Then her head fell back and she was asleep.
Text, recording and images (c) Robert Goldstein 10/2015