Pulling a chair next to the desk, I grab my brush from the table and begin running it through her hair without speaking, preferring to let her read in silence. Blue eyes lift to meet mine at random intervals as if she found an odd bit she doesn't understand, but I remain silent.
"What happened between you and my father?" she asks. The question digs into my stomach, but I keep brushing her pretty hair and try to pretend she didn't speak at all. Moments tick into a minute and then two, but I can't respond. I hear words in my head, but none can reach my lips.
Putting the brush on the desk, I tap the remote and put the song on loop. As the music plays again, I reach for my pipe and take a deep hit, trying to calm my nerves. Mary holds out her hand for me to pass it to her, but instead I put in next to the brush.
"You're too young for that," I say.
"I killed a man and now you wanna play mom? Don't be crazy, give me the damn pipe," she says, reaching for it. I do nothing to stop her and watch as she takes several hits, angry eyes getting red and glossy, staring at me.
"I won't pretend to be your mother, but I'm the one that is responsible for you," I say, taking the pipe and tapping the spent remains into an ashtray. Opening the top drawer of the desk, I remove a freshly packed bowl. I hit it and wait for the calm to descend. There are moments I don't know if I can deal with her.
"In all the stories, every time a man asks you about my father touching you, it ends with death."
I wait for her statement to morph into a question, closing my eyes and singing along with the music.
I've found my friends
They're in my head...
"What do you want to know, Mary?" I ask. Putting my hand on her arm, I attempt to bore my eyes into her brain as if trying to keep her from asking what she will.
"Did my father touch you?" she asks.
Closing my eyes once more, I let the music take me back in time until I can see Ray's face floating and smiling and peering at me from distant history. I can feel the tears and the anger and the madness rising in my blood.