Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Glass

Even though Jared broke the glass it wasn’t his fault, you know, because Alastair definitely had been making too much noise, even though he told her stop (for the hundredth time, of course) and she persisted, yelling on and on in that voice that wasn’t truly hers, had been cultivated by her to represent a style of speaking she found both funny and cool but really just made her sound very annoying and obnoxious and was always delivered in that dance floor volume, all bass and boom, resounding through the entire house Where is my brush? Where is my brush, homies? while Jared’s trying his damn hardest to do I-don’t-know-how-many things at once, total confusion all around, like a Jacques Tati movie, with the children crying and the phone ringing and someone out there, outside, holding down a car horn for way too long, likely because they’re too lazy to get out of the damn vehicle and actually go retrieve, using words, the person next door, where the music is always blasting with the bass and boom, like Alastair, who is still going on and on asking where the hairbrush is and storming away to eventually find it in her back packet, just as the doorbell rings and Jared, saying Hello? Hello? into the phone hurries into the living room and there, almost tripping over the goddamn Nintendo cord, pulls open the front door too fast, simultaneously revealing the UPS man and clanking the door into the basketball, which goes a rolling along, eventually hitting the coffee table, which jolts, first knocking the glass onto its side, where it circles a time or two, pirouetting out and out and finally falling, falling, and splash smash crash into the goddamn floor, just as the package is taken and the house has fallen dead quiet, three different heads poking from various closets and corners and hallways to bear witness, to tell Dad that it was for sure Jared, that he was the only one in the room, that even though Danny had left the basketball out it never would have happened if Jared hadn’t earlier taken the glass from the top shelf in order to avoid washing a single dish, once, in his life, even though he’d been told, along with everyone else, to never ever even consider drinking from the glass, which Dad referred to as The Glass, because he’d had it for so many years and because it was given to him by Tom, poor Tom, who hadn’t been the same since the death of his father, that boiling July day, when the old man had insisted on his morning jog, despite weather warnings, and was found crumpled in the shade near a cracked and graffiti’d canal, sending the entire community into a shock from which Tom never seemed to recover, likely due to an argument which occurred the week before, when Tom made the comment about how sometimes he’d questioned whether the old man was even his father, the way he acted sometimes, since no one else in the family, not one of them, was nearly as stubborn and self-centered, which was true, after all, but due to the whole not-getting-a-chance-to-make-up thing Tom had gone under, deep under, and not only didn’t call Dad but didn’t even respond to Dad’s calls, and Dad would sit on the couch, after work, after paying Danny fifty cents to untie and remove his unbelievably heavy work boots, and when he’d hang up the phone following another pointless message left on Tom’s machine, he’d go get The Glass, from the top shelf, and pour one and go to his room and read, or so he said, but no one really knew except Jared, who’d walked in one time to get toilet paper and, through the reflection on the bathroom door mirror, saw dad bathing, as in lying in the bathtub, The Glass in hand, which was much stranger to Jared than something like walking in on parental sex or his mother standing up while she urinated, both of which he’d seen, feeling frequently like there was a black family cloud hanging only over his own head, wondering how much sexual damage all of this was going to cause in his future, if he even had any sexual future, at this point, since in all likelihood Dad was going to castrate him when he got home in—oh fuck, half an hour, and found The Glass not on the top shelf but in the empty Adidas box where Jared had just carefully placed its fragments, setting the last piece in right as Alastair sheepishly pulled the hairbrush from her back pocket, an irony Jared was unable to appreciate, mostly due to his impending neutering, which, as the clock tick-tocked, could possibly be avoided by leaving the house, now, and staying at Bill’s for a few weeks, until Dad cooled down or at least put the rusty scissors back in the kitchen junk drawer next to the super glue which couldn’t even fix The Glass, so no hope there, since some of the pieces weren’t really pieces but just chunks, their shapes indefinable, and Alastair grinning from the doorway, brushing at her hair so hard and fast that the actual size of her head seemed to be diminishing as the knots were pulled out rather than brushed out, the brown hairbrush looking more like Cousin It each second that went by, as Dad likely clambered into his work truck, ready for a beer, and started the engine to begin the brief drive home, since the current worksite was just around the block, near the new Circle K, which wasn’t far from Bill’s house and there might still be time, if he left now, this very second, before Dad got home and shut the door and saw the guilt and then The Glass in the Adidas box and got the scissors, which from then on would be known as The Scissors, their fame preceding them to generations of children not birthed by Jared, as his father rotted away in prison and he attended his weekly therapy followed by his weekly surgery, the doctors still baffled, the bills racking up, up, and up, and up the driveway, the sound of Dad’s work truck stopping, turning off, the door shutting, footsteps into the garage, Alastair blocking the door behind him, the kitchen/garage door opening, and then Dad, finally, appearing, seeing the guilt, looking into the oddly-placed Adidas box, squinting, seeing The Glass, then Jared’s face, the guilt, The Glass, the guilt, and taking a step toward him, slow, deliberate, but oddly past the junk drawer, fear and tears in Jared’s eyes as he steps back, fast, colliding with Alastair, who reaches for her balance, the brush stuck in her frayed blonde hair, both of them going down with Dad soon looming above, eyes only on Jared, who tries to speak but can’t, can’t, can’t believe that right then the phone rang, Tom’s voice on the other line, inviting Dad over for a beer.