Shantih Journal 2.1 - Page 88

and parents fight about. He’s not a bad kid. He just takes things hard, we both do. He’s going through some something, trying to be his own man. I get it.” He thought about how Denny was that whole week before he left. Adam had been on him about his grades, and Denny had just looked at him, not like he hated him, but like he could see that deep down, Adam was afraid. And Adam had been so very angry that he had been found out. And hadn’t he felt a brief release when Denny had left, and Adam could once again see himself as the man he wanted to be, and not as the man his son saw? And hadn’t he felt such guilt after and every moment since? “I’m sorry,” he said. Sometimes he drove by their old house in Cherry Hill, but just sometimes. He looked at the girl. He said, suddenly shy, “Would you like to see a picture of him?” She nodded. “Sure,” she said. Adam reached into his coat pocket and pulled out all the photographs he had. There were so many of them all together, the three of them, and they had been laughing and their faces were red and you could see all their teeth. All ages: that first day of kindergarten, their Cub Scout ceremonies, his middle school graduation, the day he got his braces off. He picked one photograph from the pile and handed to her. “This is him.” Denny stood there by himself in front of the steps leading up to the house. He looked to be around eight or nine and it was a clear autumn day. You could hear the leaves crunching in piles around him. You could feel the warmth of the sun. His blonde hair was cut like a bowl. He wore blue jeans and a striped red shirt and when he smiled, his smile was wide wide wide. He stood with his legs apart, hands on his hips in a superhero pose. The girl said, “He looks so happy.” Adam laughed, pleased. He felt suddenly buoyant. “You think so?” He looked down at the boy in his hands, and realized that yes, he did look so happy, he looked like he could fly right off the page and straight into space. 88