On the phone, at a gas station, in our dreams
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I will tell you this: If there is a God, he does not live in a slaughterhouse. That much I know. I hope the God everyone argues over so viciously is not looking out of those dead, glazed pupils, asking us to see him finally.
He would have said, sometimes it’s not about the truth. Sometimes it’s about kindness. Especially when it comes to family.
MARK HOHN, a handwritten sign said. DEC. 19, 2013. 17 YRS. Here’s what struck me like a bus. It happened to be Dec. 19. He’d died exactly two years earlier. I sat on the ground before the cross and told myself to pay attention, that this was no coincidence.
I got the call around 2 AM. I’m surprised I even picked up. “Can you come in?” the voice said. I couldn’t say no. So here I am. Bedside. Hands folded. Lots of silence. Lots of time. Nothing to do but think.
I’ve read about a new creature called a “coywolf” — the offspring of a coyote and a timber wolf. That must have been what I saw. Waiting for it to reappear gives me something to do.
The father looked to the refs, the zebras in their black-and-white-striped shirts, but there was no hand in the air, no signal at all that a penalty would be called.
I was still exploring my power to hurt others and was continually surprised by how potent a single sentence could be. I watched my mother’s face waver and then crack open.
He has developed a shorthand response to my entreaties: Landfill, he hisses, and he walks away.
We’ve all heard there was drinking, that the parents weren’t home, that the house was huge, full of places for disappearing. And when the girl pressed charges a week later, the boy was incredulous, and his parents were ready to put up a fight.
Upon arriving at the bungalow, he learned something else about himself: if there was a 5 percent chance that fucking his ex-wife’s hairdresser might kill him, he was perfectly willing to take that risk.