Hello Kitty Virgin Mary

For as long as I've known her, my mother's two things are going to Mass at Our Lady of Peace and playing bingo in North Hollywood. Guilty from leaving me at home all night, she'd bring a pink paper bag with Sanrio characters printed all over it. Every week would be different inside. The size of the bag would depend on if she got lucky that night or if she broke even, which she believed was the same as winning. Inside, there were stickers, pencils, a pencil case, paper, lollipops, a diary. It was the period when Pochacco just came out and I was skeptical of transitioning out of my love for Hello Kitty and onto smaller more obscure colorful characters. My mother knew this because she could read my mind, so she only bought Hello Kitty things.
I would stay up until midnight and wait for when she'd pull up in her white Cadillac onto the concrete driveway. Smelling like Marlboro Reds which I associated with evil, she'd wake me up from being somewhere between half asleep & dreaming of a crush. But Hello Kitty lived in heaven, and my mother and I were not in heaven. We were in the San Fernando Valley, the porn capital. And on the way to Mass every Sunday, we would drive by houses with swimming pools where money shots were being made.

Feliz Lucia Molina, "Hello Kitty Virgin Mary." Copyright © 2018 Feliz Lucia Molina. Used by permission of the author for PoetryNow, a partnership between the Poetry Foundation and the WFMT Radio Network.
Source: PoetryNow (2018)