in the 11th grade i remember going to my friend in tears to explain i had nowhere to live because I felt to have burned bridges with both my aunt and grandmother. i remember tasting the nearness of suicide, struggling with the weight of pain and anger spread throughout my still small frame.

my friend was my family back then but i didn’t know that’s what it was called. her mom and dad kept their front door open to the neighborhood, both literally and figuratively so when i needed a place to sleep and food to eat, no thought was given to taking me in – it was just done without fanfare and that evening i was in the kitchen with her mom and sisters helping to make tamales because thanksgiving was near and it was tradition.

at some point i ended up moving out and living with two different sisters, and can’t recall why. i assumed it was simply that i was an unexpected burden. i’m okay with death, maybe even good with it, but when i found out one of those sisters died a few weeks ago i lost my shit immediately. i lost my shit so much that i missed a day of work, my mind and heart heavy with something not quite sorrow or loss but something in between.

her death struck me as a surprise because i last saw her three years ago and sometimes years ago still touches the heart in very present ways. i don’t know why it took so long for them to publish it in the newspaper but seeing her face led me to lose it again. she was in many ways still young at 59.

if i could envision what a model family could be, i’d think first of my friend, her parents and siblings. one seems to be dying every one a half years and i wonder sometimes which of us will die before the other. it’s been an emotionally taxing few weeks and it’s only me to remind me that it’s not always so infused with this level of intensity.

i don’t know what to say to anyone anymore about anything.

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