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A Mother's Memories

He is 26 now. She still sees him when he was 4, picking tomatoes as soon as they turned red in the garden.

Taking a big bite as if into an apple. The big smile that came afterward.

She started him early in first grade. She will come back to this, blame herself for wanting him busy. Was this the decision that snowballed into his later addiction? An unanswerable question she poses to herself weekly, sometimes daily.

She sees him jumping on the beige fabric sofa with the bleached wood frame at six. She had just come home with a new baby, a little sister. He was so excited and so he jumped and jumped. She tried calling to him to stop the jumping. Warning him he would be hurt. One morning she heard the jumping and then the thud. He had fallen.  He had been hurt. He broke a toe. His spirit remained intact.

Until it didn't. He became addicted to drugs. The glass sharp memories. Visiting him in "Juvy," then visiting  him in "county", then in the "state pen". He wasn't a bad kid....

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