He called me the day after his son was born. I thought he was talking about getting a dog. Made no mention those nine months his baby was gestating. The mother named the child after part of a fish. So it wasn’t a connection that was festooned with joy or anything outside of confusion.
Then he drifted out of my life. A few phone calls erupted with demands as he fled one place for another. Always shrieking, always broken, always lost. And I wondered one time as his voice came at me like a fist across the towers of cell phone impudence, what I must have sounded like. But I didn’t make those kinds of phone calls. I had known what was my problem all along, even if I kept at it. His distress worsened with age. It disrupted logic and patience and AA meetings with a singularity as firm as its borderline dissonance. You see people like him shouting at telephone poles.
But I also see him in Decembers like the one we’re in now. Trembling hands scurrying over the packages denoting his aged supremacy over me. I see that instead of the fear of abandonment that operates inside of him. Everything a dichotomy, everything coded one way or the other, never strung in between. He doesn’t miss me. And soon I will no longer miss him.
by Hank Cherry