Can’t you just act ten years old?
i project as much as i can, a hurricane of noise. He lowers his head.
i’m on my bike, a red Diamondback, riding across town with the sun on my face and all the time in the world. i take a dollar to Allen’s Variety Store and stock on up baseball cards and candy.
Go to my dad’s on the weekends and watch the Phillies on television while he mows the yard.
Getting hooked on Are You Afraid of the Dark.
The bullies. Eat lunch out of a brown paper bag and search for who looks at me and says something.
Shoot pool on the weekends and smoke a cigar like i know what to do with it, smell of Cool Water cologne.
Drive around for hours with Val in my first car, an 84 Oldsmobile with tan seats like couches.
Walk King of Prussia Mall like it is a foreign country and window shop.
Work in a factory during summers in college and come home covered in oil and dust.
Graduate and wonder what the hell to do next.
Hired. Fired. Hired again.
Move out. Marriage.
Find out i’d be a father.
Struggle. Every. Day.
i walked down the stairs as he stayed in his room. i sat on the couch.
Disappointment. Failure. Not living up to the ideal of what i could be and feeling never enough.
The alarm sounds at 6:30. Shower. Dress. Put the coffee on. Make a thermos. He comes down the stairs and lies on the couch.
Dad can you put on the PlayStation Vue for me?
Sure. Why are you up so early?
I didn’t sleep well last night.
i tousled his blonde hair. He pulls the blanket over his shoulders.
i’m going to work, i say. Be good.
Back on my bike crossing town, winter jacket zipped tight. Inhale and feel like i’m flying and still, deep down, know the pain is coming.