He ain't got what it takes. It ain't the snow that kept him from seeing me, it was that half-wit of an ex wife I know it as well as I know my own name.
She knows about me, the git.
She knows I worked at Walmart, and I have a crooked front tooth.
She knows I don't have kids.
She don't know much anymore. John says she's got cancer now. She wants his help and he says no. Good.
We'll keep it that way.
I don't want my man taking care of some stupid dame. Probably has some screws loose in her old noggin. I wouldn't doubt it.
I worked today. I got out of my new black Jeep and peered up at the store. I was working at Walmart's. It wasn't the best gig, but it pays the bills. I hope to be a superstar one day. Like that'll ever happen.
Mary Ann was working today.
Mary Ann was my coworker. She had blonde hair and big bangs and big, red lips. She looked thirty. I didn't ask 'cause it ain't polite for my generation to ask about things. Nothin' around here is polite nowadays.
Take Jack Bean. He's been askin' me for sex 'till the cows come home. I always say no. I say I'm attached.
He wants to know if John was gay. I said no. He wants to know if I'll cheat. I said no a hundred times. He don't get it.
He's sexy, handsome, and has money, but he ain't the brightest cat in the bag, if you know what I mean.
My John ain't the brightest cat in the bag. At least he treats his woman right.
He picked me. It was a match made in Heaven.
People look at us and go, "I guess they'll last." We have for six months. It's almost Christmas. I got done shopping that afternoon.
I didn't buy my John anything. It's hard to pick out a gift for him, for any occasion. He told me he wants sex and lots of it. It's what he likes most, he said.
I gave him plenty of that.
My man is as selfless as they come. He gave thirty dollars to an orphanage last year for Christmas.
Walter was another coworker.
He was fifty-nine and wore plugs in his ears. His nose was pointy and he had three grandchildren.
They all lived in Mississippi. He missed them.
I wouldn't blame him. Today he worked alongside me and we sang Christmas carols. I can't remember all the words to the songs. I got that right ole good feelin' in the bottom of my chest, it chases away all the blues and shit in my life that ain't goin' right. I don't like it when shit don't go right.
It was three weeks before Christmas.
We didn't get any snow.
It don't snow much in Georgia, hardly ever. My second cousin was majoring in economics at the University of Georgia and spent Thanksgiving at my house.
We had a nice turkey and lots of stuffing. It was three-thirty.
It was after quittin' time and I was waiting outside for John. He was fixing his truck again. The thing broke down a million times already. We didn't have any money to fix it up. Wish we did. He fixed it himself and usually did a pretty good job.
I don't like work much nowadays. I got a problem with my back and a problem with my hearing, too. I didn't do anything to deserve this. Don't own a Bible, it's my own fault.
Some teenagers came up to me and asked for directions to some diner downtown and I had to repeat myself, twice, fo'sho. "Go two blocks west," I said. They said, "What?" I said, "Two blocks west." They got it right afore that. Nothin' much else to git. Use a map. I got one myself.
John drove up in his truck and I hopped into it and we drove home.
We had our late evening sex in the den and I made dinner.
John went outside to mow the lawn.
The next day was the same.
Saturday we had a wedding for my friend, Barbara, and I wore my pretty purple dress and put my hair up in a bun and I remembered to get a bottle of wine at the grocery store.
It was two weeks before Christmas. I couldn't wait. I finally knew what to get John, a photo album for all of our wedding photos, and one of those flavored popcorn tins he liked so much.
Popcorn was his favorite.
I preferred mashed potatoes as my favorite dish. I was starting to do more cooking. Not too much more, just a little.
I didn't know how to cook very well.
I tried my darnest but it didn't help.
My mother was the cook of the family.
She could make anything and it would turn out good.
Me, I can't cook a tv dinner right.
Christmas Eve, the snow was falling outside. My hubby built a fire and we cuddled and talked.
John said work was goin' good, he wanted to get a new job that made more dough. I didn't blame him.
I hated working at the store, the boss made me feel small and stupid. He was too uptight.
John thought so. I wondered how Jen knew I worked at Walmart and John said she probably just saw me that's how she knew.
Everyone goes to Walmart.
I admitted that made sense.
Most didn't nowadays, what with all the war and the economic depression. I didn't understand war.
It made me feel small and stupid, too many unanswered questions and I didn't have the guts to ask.
Too many unanswered questions about all the wars that happened before the current war, the one in Afghanistan and Iraq.
My cousin's son, Thomas, was in Iraq.
We were waiting to hear word about how that boy was doing.
I figured he would make it.
God usually looked out for the good folk.
I thought I was one of the good folk every now and again. If no one knew all the good things I done, maybe some child, in some far off place, will recognize it and do some more good things. I didn't know. I hoped it was true.
I had a garden in the backyard. It was the beginning of a garden. I bought some seeds-pumpkin, onions, and strawberries-and a rake and a couple other supplies and started the garden last spring. I picked the onions and was too discouraged to buy more; the pumpkins withered and died; the flowers were still blooming, maybe I liked those the best anyway, I can't right tell.
This afternoon I got ready for church. I've been startin' to go to church more regular, like, I don't know why, but I got a feelin' in my bones that somethin' might happen, maybe the troops are going to be sent home. Them troops in Iraq, I hope my cousin is all right. His name was Thomas. Remember that name, he's going to win a medal I just know it he'll make us all proud. I hope I made my Daddy proud. I did my best in school. My grades weren't the best but I liked to write stories and they were in the attic, gathering dust. I hoped to look through them one of these days and find the best ones and submit them somewhere. I don't write anymore. It's too darned hard. I don't have much of a life and I can't think of anything to write about. I wish I could.
John was humming in the shower. I had half a mind to sneak into the shower with him. He had to go to work. He was a cashier at a furniture store and did a pretty good job, too, and made money on the side fixin' cars. I was proud of him. Proud as any wife should be. Ought ain't a word I wanted to use. Our parents don't got money for college.
The ex-wife was on my mind again. Darn, I wish she would just get out of there. I didn't want to have anything to do with her. They didn't have kids but he said she still had the big couch and the tv John wanted. She said she would give it to him if he came over to talk to her and work out their problems-their differences and she wanted someone to take her to get her medication regular. Yeah, I bet that's what she wanted to talk about, the no-good psycho cunt. She could call a cab. John said she was married to some man named Michael and he was on disability and couldn't drive. What a dumb name. Cool it, cowgirl, no need to be mean. My Momma taught me to be nice to everyone, even if they weren't nice back. She grew me up right even though we didn't have any money.
We lived in a small community. My next door neighbor was named Marellina Henchback. She was thirty-seven and had a boyfriend named Phil. She'd gone through some rough times and she was always right with me when I was going through mine. She and I were friends the first day we met. Friends the first day, that's a pretty good deal, I thought.
Tonight was Spaghetti Night. John was making dinner for me. He makes dinner once a week and tries to cook the rest of the week. It's hard for men to learn to cook. John couldn't sit still very long. He was always running around. He should join the track team. Maybe he could join a track team at the local college and then join the Special Olympics; he was on disability for being not too bright and having something called bipolar. I don't got that, heart disease runs in my family now, it right sure does. Don't think doctors know everything. My grandpa never went to the doctor a day in his life, past being born. I don't believe it's true.
Life ain't about the ups and downs. It's about what we do with it that counts. You can sit here and blame yourself for every bald spot on your head, or you can git with it and work it out, work through it. Sometimes it feels like things are going too slow for me, don't seem to stand a chance with nothin' no how. I ain't that bright, like I said.
Tomorrow was another day. It snowed again. The weatherman said it was goin' to snow every night this week. I didn't believe it was going to snow every night, maybe three out of the seven nights and that's it. I don't know if that's true or not. Don't think nothin' bout the weather, know how. We drive in it when we got to, we take care of it when we're in it. Don't know nothin' bout anything else.