He had broken up with his 19 year old girlfriend, Brenda, and her sister, Carol, who lived across the hall, moved in with him after Brenda moved out. She was slightly older than Brenda, and a convicted shoplifter.
I wanted those jeans so bad. The Jordache ones - with the horse on the back pocket and the silver tab. They were expensive, and we didn't have that kind of money. I made a deal with my mother - I put up half with my babysitting money and she put up the other half. I finally got them.
"Lard ass," Sherry's sister said. Although, in a Massachusetts accent, it sounded like "Lahd ahse."
"Just kiddin.' I like them jeans."
I babysat for Sherry's sister most weekends. She was 28 and had three kids: Colleen, Heather, and Bopper. Heather was named after a character on "General Hospital." Donna had a big apartment and paid us good and bought me cigarettes, too. Her ex husband was a boxer and a friend of my dad's and I babysat for them in their old tenement apartment, which had a cement courtyard where a drunk sang, "New York, NEW YORK" loudly all night long until we all went outside on the back porches and yelled at him to shut the fuck up. Now Sherry's sister had a new boyfriend, another ex-boxer, but this guy was no good, and he beat her up. He'd knock her down outside the door before she came in. He never came in. We never mentioned it and she didn't say anything.
My Dad had us every other weekend but didn't mind if we showed up or not. Most times I liked going, because he wasn't around much and would just order a pizza or subs for me and my brother when he got home from tending bar. After he got arrested, he was keeping a low profile. He had broken up with his 19 year old girlfriend, Brenda, and her sister, Carol, who lived across the hall, moved in with him after Brenda moved out. She was slightly older than Brenda, and a convicted shoplifter.
About two months later, my mother asked me where my new jeans were.
"Um, in the wash, I guess."
"They're not in the wash. You do the wash, and it's all done. Did you leave them at your father's?"
I liked the way she said "Your father's" - instead of "Dad" - he was my father. I looked exactly like him and she was constantly reminding me that I had his "same, sick sense of humor," too. Was that wrong? I was a living, breathing reminder of someone she couldn't stand, in a 12 year old girl's body.
"I don't know. I don't remember."
"Well, you'd better look for them. I didn't spend that good money on nothing, young lady!"
I was about to remind her we went halfsies but I thought better of it. I remembered Carol admiring my jeans in the kitchen as we sat smoking her Marlboro 100s and listening to Dad's Boz Skaggs tape. Oh no. I knew it was true.
The next time I went to Dad's I tried to bring it up when Carol wasn't around.
"Dad, I think ... I think my jeans are gone ..."
"I left them here, but they're not here now."
"What does THAT mean?"
"I think maybe Carol ..." I couldn't finish.
"God DAMN it!" He knew what I meant and slammed the counter with his fist.
"Don't say anything!" I reached for one of her spare cigarettes and lit it with the stove. Woosh! There went my permed bangs.
"What's that smell?"
"I just burnt my hair."
"Well, I'll look around."
"No ... never mind. Don't say anything."
He was relieved. I never saw the jeans again. Sherry's sister went on to have that guy's baby, but they broke up. Dad and Carol stayed together for 7 more years, until he hooked up with another one of her sisters, Mary. Like Carol, they too got engaged but never wed, and eventually split.