Shantih Journal 2.1 - Page 78

On the road, his hands twitched at the wheel. Adam caught a glimpse of his eyes in the rear view mirror. A dark muddy center, the whites speckled with red. He hadn’t been sleeping much, kept waking in the middle of the night muttering about polar bears. They were there in his head when he dreamed, with their lumbering gaits, their feet slapping against the ground like oversized oven mitts. Their noses were black dark, just like their eyes. Adam looked in the rear view mirror, caught sight of his own black dark eyes, and his arms pimpled into goosebumps. For the most part, Denny looked more like his mother. They both were long and lean, and they shared a nest of straw-colored hair, unlike Adam’s head of brown. His eyes though were like Adam’s. Cloudy and churning with unease. When Denny closed his eyes, to yawn or in frustration or if sleeping, Adam could breathe better, could feel again like the world had been kept safe from the storm that was his son. He headed towards the park where Denny liked to hang out and smoke pot. Denny didn’t know that Adam knew what he did there every day afterschool, when he should have been holding down that part-time job at the hardware store or studying for the SATs. But Adam could smell it on Denny when he walked through the door. He knew, but he didn’t say a thing because he had other things to say, because he wanted to know why Denny spoke to him as if he were trying to move his lips as little as possible, he wanted to know how he could transform his face so fully into something unrecognizable in that moment right before he slammed his bedroom door. When he got to the park, the sky had grown all pink. Autumn was ending, but a few young kids still ran wildly across the soccer field, parents standing guard on the sidelines. The swing-sets were empty and seeing them sway in the breeze made Adam think they looked like bones picked clean of their meat. He headed towards the back of the park, near where the skateboarders flew down ramps in a whirl. That was where Denny and his friends liked to hang out, bunched in lazy clumps. Adam had followed him once, when he heard the back door clap closed in the middle of the night, when he knew his son would never forgive him if he were to be caught, when he knew he would be unable to sleep, not just that night but 78