Coming up Gleason, I had that feeling. My hands and feet didn’t know exactly what they wanted, but they were trending toward: push past whatever/whoever blocks you, get inside, start wrecking shit by throwing it around, shout out whatever’s in your mind, see what happens.
I was on a like shame slide. You know what I mean? Once, back in high school, this guy paid me to clean some gunk out of his pond. You snagged the gunk with a rake, then rake-hurled it. At one point, the top of my rake flew into the gunk pile. When I went to retrieve it, there were like a million tadpoles, dead and dying, at whatever age they are when they’ve got those swollen bellies like little pregnant ladies. What the dead and dying had in common was: their tender white underbellies had been torn open by the gunk suddenly crashing down on them from on high. The difference was: the dying were the ones doing the mad fear gesticulating.
I tried to save a few, but they were so tender all I did by handling them was torture them worse.
Maybe someone could’ve said to the guy who’d hired me, “Uh, I have to stop now, I feel bad for killing so many tadpoles.” But I couldn’t. So I kept on rake-hurling.
With each rake hurl I thought, I’m making more bloody bellies.
The fact that I kept rake-hurling started making me mad at the frogs.
It was like either: (A) I was a terrible guy who was knowingly doing this rotten thing over and over, or (B) it wasn’t so rotten, really, just normal, and the way to confirm it was normal was to keep doing it, over and over.
Years later, at Al-Raz, it was a familiar feeling.
Here was the house.
Here was the house where they cooked, laughed, fucked. Here was the house that, in the future, when my name came up, would get all hushed, and Joy would be like, “Although Evan is no, not your real daddy, me and Daddy Evan feel you don’t need to be around Daddy Mike all that much, because what me and Daddy Evan really care about is you two growing up strong and healthy, and sometimes mommies and daddies need to make a special atmosphere in which that can happen.”
I looked for the three cars in the driveway. Three cars meant: all home. Did I want all home? I did. I wanted all, even the babies, to see and participate and be sorry for what had happened to me.
But instead of three cars in the driveway there were five.
Evan was on the porch, as expected. Also on the porch were: Joy, plus two strollers. Plus Ma.
Renee was trotting all awkward up the driveway, trailed by Ryan’s mom, pressing a handkerchief to her forehead, and Ryan’s dad, bringing up the rear due to a limp I hadn’t noticed before.
You? I thought. You jokers? You nutty fuckers are all God sent to stop me? That is a riot. That is so fucking funny. What are you going to stop me with? Your girth? Your good intentions? Your Target jeans? Your years of living off the fat of the land? Your belief that anything and everything can be fixed with talk, talk, endless yapping, hopeful talk?
The contours of the coming disaster expanded to include the deaths of all present.
My face got hot and I thought, Go, go, go.
Ma tried and failed to rise from the porch swing. Ryan helped her up by the elbow all courtly.
Then suddenly something softened in me, maybe at the sight of Ma so weak, and I dropped my head and waded all docile into that crowd of know-nothings, thinking: Okay, okay, you sent me, now bring me back. Find some way to bring me back, you fuckers, or you are the sorriest bunch of bastards the world has ever known.