••• Friday, September 24, 2004

Divorce Papers
Prologue:Last night, at 10:50 pm, my son handed me some papers, type side down. He often asks me to proof his work for school, but something about his words and posture told me this was different. In fact, before I turned it over, as he made a quick exit, I knew exactly what was in my hands.

Remember senior writing class? That perennial assignment: The Most Influential Event of My Life? This was that.

Opening Line…. “They told me that it wasn't my fault. They told me they will always love me, no matter what…..”

The rest of his words are between me and my boy and a stranger, the English teacher.

I handled it pretty well, last night. I didn’t even cry. Last night.

In fact, afterwards we had what I thought was a real good talk. A real good talk like we've had many, many times. Talks where nothing even close to those burning words were even implied. My denial, or his?

But today I have a heartache. And it goes something like this...
Why can’t you be like the other kids, and just hate me?

Why can’t you be like the other kids, and just lash out at those you love the most? The adults who were there at your first breath, to assume an undeserved place of honor at the epicenter of your tiny world. A position from where later they could and would inflict the profoundest betrayal.

Why can’t you be like other kids, and warm the chill of your broken child with illicit elixirs and other ill-gotten evils?

Why can’t you just steal money from my purse?
Or gamble my savings on the internet?

Sneak out of the house.
Drink my rum.
Mock my parental vanity.

That’d be my preference, you know.
‘Cause then I could count it.
And ground it.
And give it a name.

Medicate it.
Shrinkydink it.
Cry it to my friends.

But you’re not like other kids.
It takes a special wisdom and acceptance and flexibility
To pull a punch like this.
On pristine paper.
Ink still wet.
Near the end of the show.
Near the end of an increase row.

Double spaced.
Through the heart.
Times New Roman.
Et tu, Brute.

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