If I was angry before I was infuriated now as my uncle handed me a one hundred dollar bill to help pay for my father’s groceries. This bill, this one hundred bucks fell out of his wallet and into my hand like it had been a spare layer peeled from some already- passed-inconsequential transaction…
He and my grandmother had been at my father’s house when I pulled up, and now under the guise of wanting to see the interior of my new car, he peered and offered at me from the other side of the car through the open passenger door. His face, sort of gleaming, leaning, looking up at me, piercing me with sincere and immutable determination.
“Take it. He’s alive dammit. I don’t want him to worry about a thing”. So I took it in earnest and slipped it in my back pocket. “Thank you uncle Tom”. And if I was angry before, I was infuriated now, at myself for ever cursing my own last name. My uncle coughed and moved away, meeting me in the yard and hugging me from the side as we strode back towards inside. He would collect my little grandmother and they’d move on.
“Leeser. We love you”. And glancing at my father had said, “We’ll go so you can get your stuff. Whole Foods, huh Johnny? That’s pretty high rent”.
Dad made sure not to forget his wallet as we were leaving. Probably a pair of twin twenties, carefully, neatly tucked away. And later at the store, at the “high rent” Whole Foods, I smiled so deeply watching him examine a precious pint of blueberries that I secretly knew we’d be able to afford because my uncle had cursed at me