Last Friday my car broke down. I had to get an expensive hotel for the night. I had to watch a lazy cat lounge on the desk of the tow yard owner’s desk…at 3am. Found out Triple A doesn’t tow cars stranded on the New Jersey Turnpike or the Garden State Parkway. I learned this at 1am, in unrelenting darkness with 18 wheelers rocking my car inches away. The police officer who came to help ┬ádrove off before telling me to sit tight, calm down, I’ve called someone to help you. I was scared. So scared. Little- girl- frightened- of- the- dark scared. I cried until the mile markers became blurry, green signs of hopelessness. But all these bad things trumped by the overwhelming good of the day before. I’d slept over at a girlfriend’s home in the center of Boston. The next morning, as I rushed to my car so I wouldn’t be late for a performance, arms full of blankets, a pillow and suitcases, she slowed me down, took some of my bags and swooped in close for a hug. I pulled off hastily as she told me she loved me and stood in my exhaust fumes watching as I drove away. I don’t know much but I know Jen Leopold was telling the truth. She adores me. It’s in her eyes. Her hug. The way she is with me when we’re together. And I know that she is the incarnation of my mother’s love for me. I know she is here as a continuation of my mother’s care for me. Somehow, Mama loves me through Jenny. She hugs me through Jen, her warmth transmitted through Jenny’s skin. She watches over me via Jenny. Waves goodbye to me through Jenny’s hands. Makes sure big, angry trucks don’t wipe me off the edge of the highway long after the sun has called it a night. Calls to make sure I’ve made it home okay. Calls.
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