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prev family life, pt. 1
It's true. After we dropped you off, Jinx kicked his new Hacky Sack into the bushes and we couldn't find it. After we dropped you off at your new apartment, and the kids had thundered back down the hollow-steel and cement-slab staircase, run past the woman with the stiff pageboy (she stood there so long I began to wonder if she was a prostitute), and returned to the car, where I was waiting, Jinx kicked his brand-new Hacky Sack just once, even though it was already dark, and he never saw it come down. He heard it, though; heard it fall into the crew-cut patch of ivy next to the sidewalk. Right away he wanted to call you. He wanted you to help, wanted you to bring out a flashlight.
Or no--maybe it was me who said it. Maybe I said he could call you and ask for a flashlight, when he said he needed my cell phone light to see by. I can't remember now. I just know that he called, but you didn't answer, and he got upset and started shrieking, "WHY does Daddy have to turn off his phone when he JUST got home?" And it's true, I was surprised to think that you had already turned off your phone, or had bothered to turn it off at all, but it didn't occur to me that Jinx had it wrong, that you hadn't turned it off, that you were simply in the bathroom, out of reach. Even though he's only seven-almost-eight, he is astute, as you know. I will have a better chance of making it to old age if he loves me that long. So I was merely surprised, not suspicious, when he said you had turned off the phone. Well, I was suspicious; I mean I wasn't skeptical about his information. But I told myself that nothing you do these days should surprise me. No, that's not it. I reminded myself that lately, you are full of surprises, heavy with secrets, glistening with stealth, and nothing should surprise me. I reminded myself that I ought to cultivate disregard for everything you do, these days, because to do otherwise is agony.
So there we were, the rest of us, sitting across the street from your apartment building, in the dark, looking for a lost Hacky Sack in a thicket of dark ivy by the light of a cell phone. And now you tell me I should have come to get you, I should have sent one of the kids after you. But you forget that you were in an awful hurry to get home to begin with, and you didn't want the kids to follow you up when you got there, and you announced at least three times that you were going to "crash" as soon as you got in the door, even though it was only half past nine. So the truth is, I didn't think you'd appreciate the interruption. To be honest, I thought you were up to something, something more important to you than the people outside your window, by the silver minivan, poking around in the ivy, looking for a lost Hacky Sack in the dark.
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