“So, are you coming to my Memorial Day flag burning?”
The question slices through the air, and me lying spread-eagled on the grass cannot volley it back.
I turn over onto my side and mumble, “Dude, I can feel the earth rotating.”
I am high.
He grabs my foot and again asks, “Flag burning, Memorial Day. Are you coming?”
I hate when people touch my feet. I peek at him wondering if he knows that factoid about me and is doing it just to irritate me. Intuitive bastard. Or maybe I told him and I forgot.
Cause I am high.
He starts to poke my sole pressure point.
“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”
I sit up, kick my feet out of his hold, and tuck my legs underneath me.
“Dude, my Ma’s dead.”
He waits to hear more.
“She’s a vet. And, they gave me her–”
And, all of a sudden I am there. I am sitting in the folding chair borrowed from the V.A. in my borrowed, ill-fitting suit smelling of trash bags. Every time someone squeezed me in a hug a waft of Hefty would make me want to itch and throw up.
The chaplain goes on his knee and tells me the flag is on behalf of a grateful nation and holds up the red and white triangle for me to take.
I just want to punch the flag out of his hand and stomp his face and run away.
Just run till I get to a place where my Ma is alive frying Spam and eggs with too much soy sauce.
Just run till the pain moves from my heart to my lungs.
Instead, I just sit there, and he places her on my lap.
“I can’t go.”
I look at him without blinking so the tears don’t fall.
He looks down-unreadable.