Monday, October 18, 2010

containment

I get home, and I might as well have driven into a ditch. I make the drive home, the right bracket hung on an empty set. It is the breadth of repetition, the enduring retention of human behavior. It is the grooves worn into souls, tethers tied to other times in knotted barbed wire. Every movement is perilous. Every feeling is in danger of being drowned in blood.

Last Friday I took the slow road home, idling in parking lots, browsing in the aisles of crowded stores. The last length crawled, stop and go for half an hour, until we reached the fire engine in the fast lane, dealing with the smoky fire in the middle of the freeway median. I listened to songs I had heard dozens of times, singing along. I had nowhere to be, no-one waiting. Late didn't have a definition outside of my expectations. I could loiter almost anywhere I was.

A kid kicks the bathroom door off the hinges, wanders the grounds in furious tears. I tag along, trailing his wake. I talk a little, watching to see where to contain all this angry feeling. He talks down slow, too lit on adrenaline to hear or speak. I lay out the hard facts, guiding him towards where he needs to be. He pays the price for what he has done, and pays more for those hard lessons he learned from the failings of others. He agrees to be safe, to work on his program, to think about the world past these spats and frustrations. I wonder a little as I leave what my failings will teach him. I wonder what anyone will learn.

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