I can see through the walls into the homes of my neighbors; the mother curled up into a ball, lying there lonely for nights on end.
The children affixed to the television screen they had badgered her into buying last Christmas.
She stopped smoking for three months to buy that television.
She didn’t eat too much, once a day, sometimes less.
The children sit there cross-legged and content with the computers simulating all of the things they have lost the energy to do.
The children seem happy from the sounds of their laughter that reach her room.
Her room, where she lies and waits for one of them to wrestle themselves from from the captivity of their contentment, to come and ask her to cook him/her dinner; pizza rolls and Rc Cola, Cheeotos and Kool-aid,
She puts out her pall Mal in a can of Squirt, and wipes her face on the sleeve of her week old Tweety Bird nightgown. She bought it for herself, and wrapped it up to open on Christmas Day as a gift from her children…her children who opened up that big television in front of stragglers who had nowhere else to go on Christmas Day.
I was among them, and I watched her as she opened that brown paper bag that she had fashioned into wrapping paper; she doodled little red hearts using a cheap red crayon from a set of cheap crayons she had bought at the dollar store years ago…the children used the crayons once…grudgingly.
She read aloud from the tag she had fashioned into a Christmas Tree she had fashioned from rotting construction paper she found in the basement. She read aloud each and every one of their names, names she had given them, names she had written on the bag herself because the children were too busy watching rap videos in their messy little bedrooms.
Her eyes welled up, and she had a good cry,as she thanked each and every one of them for that Tweety bird nightgown she had bought for herself, late last night at the super wal-mart after looking under that little plastic tree and realizing they had not even attempted to get her a gift.
So she bought that Tweety Bird nightgown that she was wearing right now, standing alone in the kitchen, crying into the macaroni and cheese that cost her forty-five cents on sale at the save-a-lot.
She did not realize that I had seen her doing this.
She did not realize how little anyone cared or sympathized.