I told him and told him and told him.
“Keep it in your mini-fridge. You know you need it, that your body has to have it to function. Please, Zach. You’re working enough to make sure you have plenty. Please take care of yourself! Keep. It. In. Your. Fridge.”
I got the usual snarky reassurances only a 23-year-old seems able to articulate. Where is it written that youth must under no circumstances learn from the life experience of parents, grandparents or extended family? Whose house is this? Who’s paying the bills? And isn’t that one of my bedrooms he’s staying in?
“Yeah, yeah, yeah–you’re like a warped CD, Pops. I’ve got plenty, okay? Lay off a little, will ya?” Back in went the ear thingies, his eyes clicked into Standby and he was off into that Somewhere Place in his head.
I stood, vacuum cleaner handle loosely in my right hand, seeing the worn place in the tan carpet where Eileen’s feet had pushed while she rocked. . .
I knew he’d retreat into the swirling warmish-green mental mist of the fantasy world that was his room. I knew I’d almost immediately hear a resuming of the bipping, chirping, warbling and deep gut-throbbing BOOMing of the games. I knew I had zero tolerance for being anywhere behind that door.
I accepted he’d be a handful when I promised his dad I’d look after him during his physical therapy following The Incident. Nobody told me specifically what had happened, and I’ve been around long enough to know when to ask questions and when to wait for answers.
This was clearly the latter. The two times I’d gingerly probed around the edges – once with his dad and once with Zach – I was not-so-kindly walked to the door of the discussion. One learns to put up with a lot not to be alone.
So it was no shock to step into the converted garage and find him stretched where he’d fallen. Walking to the fridge, fearing but knowing what I’d find, I opened the door and looked.
He’d finally run out of Snapple.
(from some free writing fun)
© D. Dean Boone, January 2016