ariella (2) best-laid plants

Sometimes I hear her through my screen door whispering Buster's name over and over through the fence I made he wouldn't escape and go eat stuff under houses. Her cousins would come over and I think maybe they were slipping him candy and bubble gum, because I would find wrappers all around Ariella's little stoop by the fence. She and Buster bonded because you know he goes when anyone says his name. I wish I was like that.

Here comes the bad . This spring Ariella gets a plant and it outside on her side stoop by where I'm gardening and waters it when I'm gardening, and her plant okay for a while. But she doesn't water it every day, so it starts to brown and curl, so I start watering it for her. One day I give her six Miracle-Gro sticks to bury near its roots because I feel bad for her. than that, I try not to get , because you know how attached kids around here can get. Does that me a bad person?

Her mother has terrible boyfriend. He's tall, wide--brings crawfish, crabs, and fish by in burlap sacks that sit in the sun in our alley. Drinks Miller beer by the case on their front steps. The works. (Though in his I should say that he does the cans in my recycling bin instead of on the ground under the house.) The boyfriend and the mother, a woman in her late thirties, drunk on Saturdays (sometimes Fridays, Thursdays, and Sundays) and scream and yell and throw while I imagine Ariella hiding in her bedroom by our backyard.