” I can’t do this!” He screams.
There’s something in the flushed cheeks, the set jaw, the glaring eyes that cause me to just walk away. I sit on the couch, pull up a blanket and try not to feel every word he screams.
“I can’t do this! I hate school! I hate math! I hate writing! I can’t do this”
He slams down his notebook, punches it and slams it down again. He’s shaking with fury as he throws himself into his chair over and over again.
Over a sentence.
And I don’t know what to do. The words he’s screaming I stopped screaming months ago, and yet they are always there, whispering in my mind when things begin to pile up and I fall behind on dishes and laundry and school. I don’t know how to do this. I can’t do this. And they leave me on the porch, crying into Jake’s fur while I look out over the fields toward the cedar trees marking the northern edge of the cemetary where my son’s body lies.
“I hate this! I’m stupid! Stupid, stupid, stupid! I’m the stupidest boy I know! I’m the stupidest boy in the world!”
Tears sting my eyes as he gives himself over to violent sobs that seem greater than he. I don’t know what to do. I want to comfort him, take the assignment away, break it down somehow so this one sentence doesn’t bring the whole world crashing down.
And yet I have sat kneeling in an onion patch, screaming at weeds and sobbing over all the the things I couldn’t do. I feel that day in every word he screams and I have a vague sense that this is his onion patch. It is his onion patch and he has to walk through it.
Because the only emotion he has ever really talked about in connection with that night is anger. Anger that it happened. Anger that his sister wasn’t fast enough to stop it. Anger that he let Mattias get out of his lap. Anger that I wasn’t there. Anger that he feels isn’t justified because it really wasn’t anyone’s fault.
And yet his brother is dead and he is angry. And he doesn’t know what to do with it all.
And I don’t know how to help him.