A Random Image

Jett Superior laid this on you on || August 3, 2004 || 9:56 pm

For some, ice cream is enough.

There have been tears, because he is four and not yet staid in the resolution that tears spent on a mother that does not show up for her visits are merely a waste of salt water. I bought him ice cream –small consolation– so now the lower half of his face is a mixture of snot and sweet chocolate mint, both melted and both sticky.

“C’mere, Josh,” I say as I pull up in the drive of his foster parents’ home, “let’s get you cleaned up.”

A school-free summer is closing with the fierce gaiety it unrelentingly employs, and with it the clarity of smells that is one of its hallmarks. So it is no wonder that in the dead, muggy heat I can smell the warm salt scent emanating from the little cheeks where the tears have tracked mercilessly down as I clean them with a cool baby wipe procured from the box under my seat.

How many faces and fingers have I wiped over the span of my few years on the planet?

I exit the car, opening his door for him, helping him out; we amble up the drive in silence, the gravel crunching beneath our feet. An overexcited lab is waiting at the steps of the deck to greet us.

He crosses the deck, and as he prepares to mount the doorsill, me standing on the plank deck to see him securely inside, he turns to me. His face is upturned, the almost-ready-to-set sun gleaming gold off his nose, his cheekbones, his chin. Motes of dust and fluffy flecks of pollen pirouette in the air between us, little daytime sparks in front of his blue irises that could have been carved out of an Easter-Sunday sky.

“Hey; you my Sugar Worker?” he asks, bastardizing my ‘official title’, squinting one eye and baring still-perfect pearls of baby teeth against the explosion of setting sun behind me.

This gives me pause in spite of myself; an unsettling stir of emotions roll over under my ribs as I try this new title on for size: Jett Superior, Sugar Worker…trying desperately to wring sweetness out of shit and spin it into something fine–in all senses of the word.

Sugar Worker.

I squat, my face at the level of his, and push my sunglasses back across a messy tumble of long-day-tired hair. Secretly, I’m sure that the heels of my boots are leaving crescents of pale red dust across the seat of my Levi’s, but I don’t care. Our blue eyes fix on one another and I answer.

“Yeah, Joshua, I’m your Sugar Worker.”

Satisfied, he turns to mount one more step. I watch, then I turn to descend just one more. Every day, just one more.

Lord help.

4 worked it out »

  1. skyra 8.4.2004

    How bittersweet. Those kids are so blessed to have you as their sugar worker :)

  2. CNL 8.4.2004

    Never could find the right words to describe you to other people… “real world people”.

    She’s a friend. She’s a good person. She makes me laugh at everything and at myself… None of that ever seemed like enough.

    Sugar Worker – that seems like enough. ;-)

  3. Johnny T 8.4.2004

    Jett, that was a touching little ditty.

    And if I ever get a chance to write a book, can I title it: Jett Superior, Sugar Worker…trying desperately to wring sweetness out of shit and spin it into something fine–in all senses of the word.

    Because that is solid gold –solid gold I say.

  4. Mac66 8.5.2004

    I had a thought that you should put this all down in book form, sell it on Amazon to the masses, hand it out for free to those who don’t show up to see their kiddies….(You gave me tears)…but then….If they don’t give a crap now, why in the world, should such lovely, thought provoking, Fuck You Too absent mommie and daddie to sweet child of God, give a shit if you read it…

    But we have to try….;)

    BTW…The story was so Fuckin’ Sweet, I intend to give my grandkiddies an extra long hug…;)


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