When I lived in Wisconsin I was unhappy, said Sue. I wanted to die. I tried to commit suicide when they made me live with my mother when I was seventeen.
When Sue talked about the past a young woman appeared in her old seventy year old face.
It was a long long time ago I was a teenager. I’m 73. My mother forced me to eat
margarine. I only ear butter now.
I grew up in NY like you, I said.I had issues with my parents. I’m a parent now.
I loved my father, said Sue. My mother was the problem. I forgave her.
Do you have your own room, I said.
I knew Sue had lived on the margins for most of her life. Whenever I saw her I wanted
to give her my attention and time. I was devoted to her. Often I thought what it would be like to have a relationship with her even thought she was thirty years older than myself.
She thought I had a thing for older women. I do like them but no more than young women.
I have a room, but I have to share the bathroom with ten other people, said Sue.
I still have my health as long as you have your health.
When I’m not independent I will give up, said Sue. I have enough money from social security to have a beer when I listen to music. I walk everywhere as much as I can. It’s good for my heart and lungs.
I like Sue walked everywhere. We were the flaneurs of Portland.
I like the yellow and pink flowers, I said.
My husband raped me, said Sue. It happens more than you think.
I know a woman whose husband raped her when she tried to leave the house they lived in with her boy.
Where are we, said Sue.
We’re in Portland, I said.
I know that, said Sue. What is this life we are living.
Everything has been answered for, I said. There are no more questions.
I knew this idiot, Sue said. He saw everything in black and white. He wasn’t religious but when you did something untoward he thought that you were evil. He thought every white van had a driver in it that didn’t know how to drive. He thought the same about the drivers that drove hybrid cars. He disliked every man who had the name Gary. When he met a Gary he would avoid him like the plague.
I sympathize with old people, the dying, and the sick, I said. They are not appreciated in the States the way they are in the East.
People are not scared of Bin Laden. They are scared of being laid off. I felt sad
when I started talking about Bin Laden. I thought America is a great country. It has to be if it produces folk like my Sue.
The powers that be try to divide us with religion nationality class, said Sue. They want us at each others throats.
No one has even thought about how to utilize the potential of the insane locked up in
asylums. The amount of energy that is wasted is staggering.
My husband beat me and cheated on m, said Sue. He never admitted that he cheated on me. I always tell my son I loved him.