I’m twelve, and I just learned my mother was not dead but living on the other side of town. That’s her, in the photo below the cut.
She was 32 and gorgeous, but her eyes always showed a chronic sadness. Bully, President Teddy Roosevelt's nickname, later became my step father. By trade he was an iron worker, and ran a weekend bookie operation out of his living room. In great contrast to my father Chester, Bully slowly nursed a single shot glass of Seagram’s 7 as he took calls from the three phones on his coffee table. He never took notes, he kept everything in his head. I never saw him drunk, not once. Never saw my mother drunk, either.