“Than'u, Davey.” Ma said as I tried to keep her upright and unlock our door at the same time. We'd had first night Seder with our neighbors and Ma had scared me with the amount of wine she’d drank. If I hadn't gained three inches since Davey left, I wouldn't have been able to get her home by myself.
“I'm Nicky, Ma. Davey's in California now.” I got her on the sofa.
She didn't seem to hear me, just kept talking, her words slurring together. “I had to, Davey. Couldn't drag you down. So smart! Whole sentences when you were one. Never crawled, just up and ran. Your father - so proud of you.”
“I'm Nicky,” I said again, kinda loud. I wanted her to stop talking.
“Nicky.” Her mouth pulled into a sad little frown. “Nicky's... you know, like me. A little slow. Couldn't let you ruin your future looking after us. You're gonna be somebody. Respected. Me and Nicky'll be okay.”
I felt like I was gonna puke. I shook her a little. “Ma, you sent Davey away because he was running wild! Remember?”
She nodded vaguely. “He'd have straightened up, but now he's got a better chance.” Tears were slipping down her cheeks. “And you and me will get by.”
“Ma?” I started, but she had finally gone to sleep. I sat there on the floor for I don't know how long - just lost in myself. When I heard the garbage truck coming down the alley I thought about doing something like that for forty years. Taking orders from some blowhard, never seeing the shiny side of life. Not me! I'd be somebody, make it big, get respect. Impress Ma. And my perfect big brother and the rest of my family could just eat my dust.