We were born and nearly raised by the time love was invented. Just after the big bombs went off, it was, when parents went looking for hope and found it in their suddenly nuclear families. Everything was nuclear then. We hadn’t invented blending and extension. Human couples mated for life and multiplied, or were ostracized, pitied and ridiculed. Singles of any sort were not to be trusted. Even widows were suspect. Apparently, when I tore through the first floor of my good buddy Tony’s house on the day of his birthday party, which happened to fall on Labor Day weekend and, so, had to involve all sorts of adults—apparently I had a motive of some kind when I knocked the precious ashtray off the stupid little table Tony’s mom had stuck in the hallway I was running through trying to pull down Tony’s sister’s pants. Tony’s dad saw me streaking toward the foyer and knocked me to the floor with a good hard smack. I got up and I didn’t cry, but I looked at him and I didn’t run because I knew I had to. I looked at him as mean and hard as a ten-year-old could who didn’t want another. My dad was there. Tony’s dad said, This one needs to learn about indoors. My dad put his hand on my shoulder. I regret to this day that I flinched. Son, he said, Mister Capisi is talking to you; you’ve done some damage; did you apologize? I didn’t know if he was playing Truman or MacArthur, but I knew he was trying out something. Son, he said, Do you want another? And hearing that threat I learned that he loved me. He was showing me the way out. He didn’t know how else to do it.

Copyright © September 05, 2007 David Hodges