James rubs his thumb against the palm of his hand, trying to scrub the bit of blood that had dried on it.
“Why’d you have to go so crazy? Why’d you hit that little kid?” James’ voice comes out a mix of anger and sadness.
Josh doesn’t reply. He lowers his head until his chin is nearly touching his chest. He begins to quietly sob. The two boys continue walking down the sidewalk away from the playground. Josh’s knuckles are raw and covered in blood. Blood is smeared across the chest of his plain white T-shirt striking a vicious contrast.
James falls back a step. He doesn’t want to look at the shirt. He doesn’t want the image of the younger, crying boy from the playground in his mind any longer, the vision of the bloody boy hugging into Josh’s chest, begging him to stop hitting him.
“Why’d you have to hit him?” There is only sadness in James’ voice.
Josh stops walking, turns to James, and says, “I wanted him to stop being sad.”
I want to sit up late, sipping shot glasses of black espresso that tastes of burnt tires and crude oil like they do in little towns in Italy, typing like a crazed fool who does not know well enough to judge his own work harshly.
I want to wake early and listen to the songbirds in my cherry tree while composing haikus that are both witty and beautiful.
I want to sleep in the afternoons, dream profound and inspirational dreams that feed my creativity until I wake, drink my dinner and dash out prose so brilliant that they obscure the stars.
I decided one day that I was not going to believe in God any longer. I would stop talking to him, stop sending wishes and hopes to him. I would stop looking to his book in times of need. I would stop taking pleasures in singing songs during service. I would stop going to service. I would stop worrying about using his name in vain. God dammit, I decided it was time to go out and really start enjoying myself.
Then my son didn’t die that one time he was really sick and the doctors all said he was a lost cause. Then I realized that everything I had done was like turning off the radio to avoid a show or bit of news you don’t like; you may tune out, but the broadcast never stops coming.