By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
“So, what was it like growing up with her? I don‘t know, it was kind of a nightmare a lot of the time. It really gets me all wound up, actually, thinking about it. So, I don’t know, whatever. I remember things like, I never really had the cool lunch at school like other kids, no Capri Sun and fruit roll-ups, just like an apple and a cheese sandwich. I remember some kid I used to play with, his mom asking me, ‘So, when was the last time you had a bath?’ At that time, I didn‘t care, I’d go, ‘Uhm, I don’t know, a week or something.‘ And I remember that the house was always kind of . . . not nice. It was not a nice house. My bedroom was like a mattress and some Legos over on the side.”
Alex stares at his hands holding the bottle of beer. “I think the best memories I have of hanging out with my mom is, in the mornings, we’d go for walks on the beach, and that was nice. My dad would be out of town a lot, and he‘d leave me alone with her. I was always so glad when he got back; it was always good to see him when he got back. So when they split up [and Alex lived with him], I was more or less happy about that. I remember I used to go hang out at her house on weekends, and that was kind of lame, because her shitty boyfriend would always be there. There was the old guy -- he was just an old fart, I wondered why my mom married him. He was pretty benign, but the others were really animals. I couldn’t even believe where she found them, they were lousy motherfuckers, man. I think at some point, eighth or ninth grade, I just said to her, ‘Fuck it, I’m not talking to you anymore.‘
”Maybe it wasn’t the nicest thing for me to do, whatever; kids don‘t always know how to be nice, but I saw the way she was living and I just got disgusted with her. I was like, ’How can you live like this?‘ Maybe she was working at Orange Julius and living in a halfway house or something, and her clothes were all secondhand. I wanted her to be kind of normal, and she wasn’t; she was just like a total recovering fuckup, and I didn‘t really have any pity for it. It was embarrassing. I remember she wanted to take me to see movies on weekends, so we were in Westwood, and we saw a bunch of my friends from school, I mean, I just got so embarrassed, and I told her about it. I said, ’Aw, Mom, it‘s kind of embarrassing, the way you dress and stuff,’ and she got really offended and she stomped off. And I was kind of relieved, almost. I felt a little bad, but then I was like, well, it‘s the truth; she’s a weirdo and it‘s embarrassing. And she went one way and I went the other, and I was like, cool.
“I actually did live with her for a while when I was 17. I was fighting with my dad a lot, so I went and moved in with her. My mom was sober then; when she’s sober, she‘s a real nice person. That was the summer before I went to school at USC. I stayed in touch with her pretty much all the way through school, until she fell off the wagon, which was about fall of ’94.
”I was driving around with her when it happened. She had a job at the time, working at this flower shop, and we‘re driving in the flower truck, and she stopped at the liquor store, and I was like, what? And she went in and got some booze, and I just . . . I didn’t know what to say. I was kind of winded . . . I remember being kind of sickened by it, but things hadn‘t really gotten that bad for her, at that point. She still had a job and residence and everything. The thing is, though, she’d inherited a lot of money, and that‘s basically what pushed her off the edge, because she didn’t have to work. So, when she didn‘t have to work, I guess she just figured, fuck it.
“When she inherited the money, she said to me, ’You know what? I want you to have it all, because I have a lot of creditors that would be after it.‘ I said, ’Well, okay.‘ My dad thought it was a bad idea, but he didn’t really tell me exactly how bad an idea. So, I just gave [money] to her whenever she wanted some, but she just kept asking for more and more, and she was drunk all that time. I was on Venice Beach one time, and she came up and asked me for change. I was by myself, and I was like . . . I didn‘t know what to say to her, man. I said I couldn’t really help her. She asked me what happened to all her money, and I told her I‘d given it to her, that she’d had it, and it‘s gone. And she just ran away horrified, and I was horrified, and I ran away, too.
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