Shantih Journal 2.1 - Page 81

answers. He snapped at Hannah when she asked him if he wanted to see the butterfly exhibit, and Adam had taken him aside, shaking purple with rage and told him to knock off being such a little asshole all the time. Later on the ride home, Denny reached across to the front seat and did Hannah’s head with one of those metal head scratchers they kept in the car. Her blonde hair sticking up all a mess, both of them giggling as the static grew, Denny’s hiccupping laugh the loudest of all. And Adam sitting there in the front seat, still mad, unable to so easily forget his son’s little crimes. Denny had patted his mother’s hair down smooth and said, “Don’t say I never did anything for ya, Mom.” He could be sweet sometimes. Adam said, “Philly.” He got the address from Matt and told the kid he wouldn’t call his parents, even though he should have. Adam headed back to the car. When had it gotten dark? By the time he started up the engine, the soccer field was totally empty, save for an empty water bottle, rolling in waves on the turf, abandoned to the wind by its owner in the flash of leaving. Denny stole the car once. He was fourteen. Adam heard the garage door clink shut, the car roll away. He didn’t want to wake his wife, instead waited until his son came home, all along thinking that he should have tried harder, been better with Denny. They used to play basketball with each other on Sunday evenings, but they hadn’t done that in a while, not since Denny began to tower over Adam. He wasn’t a bad kid, not really, just angry, angry with Adam most of all, as if he would do anything in his power to erase his father’s very existence from the planet, as if he wanted to unhinge his jaw and consume his father whole. Adam didn’t know what that feeling was like. His own father had died when he was twelve and out of all of his brothers and sisters, Adam had been the one to bear his lost father’s name, a weight that had seemed nearly unmanageable throughout his life. When he heard Denny slink up the stairs one at a time, he sat up out of bed. Just before his son slipped into his bedroom, Adam came into the hallway and said, “Wait.” 81