Thinking about my mother in Florida 

Chris and I rarely have any grown up time but we sit on our balcony and I watch the ocean and think of my mother - the walks we had to the Fort Lauderdale library in sweltering heat, her voice whispering at me not to make eye contact with the homeless drunks who congregated near the entrance, even though she herself had her own intimate relationship with alcohol and had lost her home on more than one occasion. But in her opinion those people chose to abandon their manners and style and if they’d had any wit to begin with, it was rendered inaccessible due to their odor and inebriated enunciation. I always nodded and never argued with her point because I’ve always believed a person’s point is the most sacred thing about them and if you tell a person their point is invalid they will just hold onto it tighter and it won’t ever get to travel with them to a new point in time and space. 

Chris notices a man on the balcony across the way who has climbed up the side of a building to pull off dead leaves from palm trees. He’s wearing no safety apparatus and Chris is clenching his jaw hoping this will somehow help the man not fall to his death. “Are you looking at this?” he asks me. But I can’t see what’s going on. These days I don’t wear my glasses unless I absolutely need to see the world in order to avoid literally running into it. If my mother were here, she and chris would be talking about this at length with their mega coffees. They loved to talk about survival events with gusto. 

My mother had her private opinions about things that she only shared with me but when it came to actually connecting to other people’s points, she was always so generous and flexible. She was available for matters ethereal and also for matters that involved the grit and fire of the earth. She would gladly connect with a stranger about the price of gasoline even though she had no vehicle, because she knew the other person was probably trying to share the story of their spirit - how it got stuck and what they were hoping to do about it. My mother never told the truth about her own personal business, but she sure was a magnet for bringing out the truths of others- even if it was just an old fashioned middle finger. But mostly, she was a safe place for a lot of hidden hearts longing to be appreciated.

Jessica Kane