December 18, 2008

chapter one of my seventeenth life

by Justin Hyde

my first date
since getting divorced
is with a
hispanic hairdresser
i met at suzy Q's.

she lives
in a small trailer park
behind perkins.
hands me a beer,
says make myself at home
while she finishes the
fried rice
and stuffed jalapenos.

out front
her thirteen year old son
is taking the hubcaps
off her
rusted out nissan.
he's got four
platinum coated ones
spread out
on a
green army blanket.

he's having trouble
getting the
new ones on.

need any help?
i ask.

he doesn't say anything.
just sneers.
but he
hands me
one of the new ones.

i bend down
and line it up.
these new ones
are for eighteen inch rims
your mom's
are fifteen inch rims,
i tell him.

his lips go thin,
then he kicks the blanket
with the other rims
goes inside
and starts screaming at his mother
in spanish.

then he
slams his bedroom door
and starts blasting
rap music.

he's embarrassed
to have me
drive him to school
in my car.
but i won't let him
get rides with older kids
cause he'll never
make it to school,
she says.

where'd he get
those rims,
probably cost
couple hundred
a piece.

i don't
want to know,
she says.
then she
looks at me apologetically.
he's a handful
but he'll be
out of the house
soon enough,
she smiles
and takes me
by the arm
like a king.


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