“We have to move,” Little Biker Boy told me last week. “We’ve been evicted.”
As soon as he said the words, I knew it had to be true. He wouldn’t have known the word evicted otherwise.
I had wondered how long the landlord would put up with the police visits, the neighbor complaints, the many broken rules. The family needs to move out of the little trailer by November 30. It will be winter. I don’t know where they will go.
Ponytail hasn’t said much at all. That day, she sat on my lap and cried about a cut she had on her finger. Then she went back to playing with the traintracks on the floor. But Little Biker Boy talks to me about it every day.
“When I’m older and I have a car,” he said. “I’m going to come visit you.”
“That’s right,” I told him. “I’ll still be here.”
“I’ll come visit you, and we can sit at the table and drink tea,” he said. He has watched me drink tea with Beautiful Smart Wonderful Daughter.
“That’s right,” I said. “And I’ll make apple pie.”
I reminded him that he’s like one of my kids. “You aren’t like your father or your mother’s boyfriend or Ponytail’s father,” I said. I went through the list of abusive alcoholic men that have come through his life in the last couple of years, naming each one. “You aren’t like them.”
“No, I’m not,” he said, nodding his head with emphasis.
“You are like my kids. Like Boy in Black. Or Shaggy Hair Boy. Or With-a-Why,” I said. It’s a ritual conversation; we’ve had it over and over again.
“When I’m older, I’m going to be like one of your kids,” he said.
I poured him a glass of milk: he was testing the vegan chocolate cupcakes I’d made. He ate a cupcake and gave it his approval.
“I have a car,” I told him. “I can come get you sometimes, and you and Ponytail can come visit. Do you remember my phone number?”
He nodded as he always does, and recited the number back to me. Then he said, as he always does: “I have your phone number in my heart.”