I wonder how much alcohol it took for granddaddy to drink him self out of this missing; I bet it started with eggnog – all dense and lovely; the way it curls in your throat, coats it thick with whiskey. I bet he felt bad, the way he left mom; mimi, long before leaving; I bet it started that first Christmas he realized he didn’t love any of ’em enough, thought the eggnog full enough to guzzle the whole pitcher – I bet mimi thought it was Uncle Kent; I bet she still does, the way he’s done fried his brain. That’s the good thing of having family members who fuck up I guess. Easier to place the guilt or the empty or the missing on them. Of course, Uncle Kent didn’t have AIDS then, hadn’t started huffing or heroine or having sex with men – no one was afraid to kiss him. Nah, like granddaddy, he was just realizing how much better everything seemed when the hurt didn’t bloom so badly in his chest. Sometimes I can feel it, the way it claws at me; sometimes I like it not blooming in my chest either; but alcohol doesn’t warm me like granddaddy, and I still remember the disgust on my mom’s face when she wiped my cheek after Uncle Kent kissed me. I think she was afraid of me catching whatever Uncle Kent had – funny how she didn’t see the disease in all of us; how she doesn’t see it in me. I guess that’s the good thing about having family that fucks up. You find the filling in family accepted practices – if it stops the missing blooming in your chest and your mom can still kiss you, what’s the harm?