Shantih Journal 2.1 - Page 83

while. How long? The joints in his legs crank crinkled to life. Adam pushed open the door and it was dark inside, only bits of light streaming in through the cracks in the boarded-over windows. On the bottom floor, a mess of sleeping bags, some of them occupied, layered the ground. He heard some groaning, some whispering, all indecipherable. In the corner, a woman’s face had been painted onto a wall, and she had black hair and blue lips and tears running down her face. Underneath her painted chin, an old woman sat on the floor of the house stabbing a needle into her veiny arm. He moved farther into the house, rested a foot against the stairs, and gingerly made his way up. He wasn’t afraid. There were very few things in his life that made him afraid. Like the police saying there was nothing they could do. Like the way Hannah’s eyes had changed after, as if all the light had dried up. Like Denny, not even the thought of where he was now, if he was safe, if he was okay, but just Denny, in the flesh, as he had been. Denny could frighten him more than anything, just by being his son and that way he had of looking at Adam like he was disappointed, he could see right through him, he had figured out that this father had not turned out to be all that he had been promised when he was a child. When Adam reached the top of the stairs, his legs felt shaky. He found himself to be incredibly tired. Upstairs, people floated in and out of rooms, kicking away bottles and flinging cigarette butts. Some were teenagers and some weren’t. He wondered what had happened to them that they’d found this place. “You a cop?” He turned, saw a man a little younger than himself. His red beard held streaks of gray and what looked like cigarette ashes. Adam shook his head, and the man came closer. His eyes narrowed, then widened, and he sighed. “Oh, it’s you.” Adam thought for a second. Then he remembered those many other times here looking for Denny. He noticed he had tracked snow into the house. When had it begun to snow? He said, “I’m trying to find my son.” The man waved him away, then began to shuffle down the hallway. 83