TITLE: The Big Ugly
It was a hot bright Tuesday late in June, the seventh straight day of high temperatures in the city, and I was late picking up my tour. The singeing heat that normally hung back in the high desert until July or August had moved in early, burning off the morning fogs and insinuating itself into the fabric of daily life. The early arriving heat made LA itchy and abrasive, its citizens ill-tempered.
My boys, John, 11, and Nick, 9, warmed to a low simmer by the stuffy morning heat of our small house, had bickered and complained through breakfast about having to spend another hot day at the Rec Center where they would be expected to run feral, entertaining themselves outside.
I wasn’t going to give in, but John brought up their dead mom.
Three years later, even when it’s a cynical ploy to get what they want, I can’t trump dead mom. They used to pull it out only in emergencies, but recently they’ve taken to slapping it down over deuces and threes. I don’t have the energy to fight it. Someday I’ll have to stand strong, but not today. Today was just too damn hot. Today they’re at their grandmother’s.
The detour had me running late. The repeated and reliable failure to stand my ground had me feeling like a shitty parent. The fact that they’d again ended up at my mother-in-law’s house had me thinking about how much I depended on her, worried about rubbing her love thin from overuse.