We had a neighbor kid named Sam. I was 10 or 11. He was maybe six.
Sam had a rat-tail hairdo, and he always had snot dripping out of his nose.
The word in the neighborhood was that Sam’s mom didn’t like him much and just locked him out of their trailer all day.
As a rumor, it made sense. Even on cold days, Sam would just be hanging around outside on his bicycle, without a coat.
Charlotte and I tried to play with him and be nice but our age differences didn’t leave us much in common. We mostly played Barbies, and he was not very good at Barbies.
Our trailer had a sliding glass door that didn’t close all the way. Sometimes, Sam would come sit on our porch and sing-song through the crack that he wished he had someone to play with. I remember when I practiced my cello, he would just sit on the porch and listen, and I wasn’t very good.
A lot of people in the trailer park tried to be kind to Sam. Just not his mother, from what we could tell.
I thought about Sam the other night. I’d like to think he made it out of there. I hope he joined a punk band and majored in physics.
Even at six, he didn’t seem to have much hope for himself.
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Tags: California, family, grrrl