Down the block from us lives a woman who is either constantly drunk or has some sort of mental illness or both. She walks up and down the block in the middle of the day. Often when I cross paths with her she has something to say, and usually it’s something bizarre like a rambling joke about rocks and God. One time she told me I looked like an angel. Her name is Mary, which always makes me think of that Pearl Jam song.
I am 32 years old and am starting to notice that I, um, no longer look just like I did when I was 19.
Yesterday I was returning from the park, carrying M, when we crossed paths with Mary. She stopped and staggered a little and stared up at me. You know what it is now? she said, stabbing the air in my general direction with a soda cup. I slowed down and looked at her. It’s children, she said, waving the cup toward my face, conductorlike, and then, gesturing toward M, taking care of children.
I just busted out laughing. Thanks, Mary. You made my day.