I took you for a walk and explained to you why attending a $7000/month summer arts camp was not in my vocabulary. We spoke about social class. We spoke about where I came from and where your dad came from and how different those two places were. I told you I was glad your dad had the degrees, the connections, the experiences and the resources to make it possible for you [both] to be at that camp. I told you I did not have those things. I told you that for some people, camps like these were the norm. I told you that for others, a low-cost summer day camp in the park was the best and only option. I asked you if you felt poor and when you said you did not, I felt good. I do not want you to feel ashamed like I did, though I understand my shame was deeper than the mattress on the living room floor or not enough food in the cabinets. I do want you to understand your place in the world. I told you we can talk about these things.
This morning, from my bed, I heard a young couple and their guardian arguing across the street. I do not know if you noticed. A pregnant mama pushed her baby in a stroller up a snow packed hill. I heard, “I love you,” and “I’m sorry,” and, “Bring the baby back to where it’s warm,” and “Ya’ll are crazy,” and “Leave me the fuck alone.”
From the inside, our home is enchanted like Narnia. It is a good life. But the picture is incomplete if I let you think these things do not happen or, worse, if I let you think I do not see them.
I use creative non-fiction, autobiographical fiction, and poetry to communicate, connect, and understand.