Fambly dynamics are easy when you’re in charge because you just say leap and they say how high and you say that you’re making me so angry right now and then they get that look in their eye that says that they’ll do anything you want if only you’ll calm the frick down and so you do. Because that’s all you wanted. Respect.
But that’s not really respect, is it, Dad. No. That’s just fear.
So anyway, I walked away. That’s me to the right of the tree walking away. I went in an away direction for eight years and then I visited. You were pleased to see me. At least, that’s how you played it on your face. But who can tell what lurks behind the skin, muscles and bone? Me? Nah. I know nothing.
I mean, sure, I can guess. I’m as intelligent as your next estranged son. I can look at the life you had and look at the life I had and I can extrapolate from me to you. Guesswork.
The dog dies early in the story. It’s called Sam and that’s him between me and the tree.
Sam howled in the night at things that I could never see and hear. Perhaps the neighbour’s cat teased him through the porch door. Maybe the trees swayed in just that way. The way that puts shadows on the inside of your dreams. Hey, we’ve all had those dreams, right? Well, for Sam, they were a little too close and a little too real and … well, I would have howled too. I guess.
I stomped my foot on the floor and Sam picked up the ears that were laid flat to his skull and stopped howling. For a while. So I stomped downstairs and I did things that didn’t help either me or Sam. But at least I didn’t turn him out into the dark and beat him when he tried to come back until he stopped coming back and we heard of a dog killed on the road and maybe it was Sam and maybe it wasn’t but he never came back.
And, despite visiting, neither did I.