Page 55 - WTP VOl. IX #1
P. 55

 Shaid took the fox out of its cage, opened his bed- room window, and let it go. As usual, he lied about it, said he’d forgotten the window was open, that the animal got away by mistake. It was too young to survive on its own. They found it three days later, by the side of the road, dead.
Jack closed his eyes, but he could not sleep. He tried to think of a way to cut the trip short, but it was im- possible. A faked message from the office, a sudden illness—Marcia would see through any excuse. She would blame him for ruining the trip, and she would never stop punishing him. He was surprised at the intensity of his feeling, at his longing for something to free him from this trip.
The next day, something did. Shaid was cranky in the morning, more so than usual. He hadn’t slept well, and he was bored. To Jack’s immense relief, Marcia didn’t urge them to go fishing that morning. Shaid asked if he could take the car into Emerson. He said he’d pick up some soft drinks, milk, ice for the ice- chest. Jack knew he really just wanted to get away from them.
Before Jack had a chance to respond, Marcia inter- vened. “Please don’t be angry at him. He’s a teenager. You know how it is.” But Jack wasn’t angry. The thought of his son leaving filled him with relief. As he watched Shaid drive off, he felt the muscles in his chest relax.
That day for the first time, he enjoyed the lake. Marcia relaxed when Shaid was gone, the crackle of tension between them vanished. Jack suggested a walk, and they strolled along a path and watched a great blue heron fly up off the water. They ate lunch without speaking, but it was a good silence, as if they were sharing the quiet of the lake and woods. They sat by the shore afterwards, listening to the lament of loons.
It was late afternoon when they heard the car on the road. Jack looked up to see it approaching through
(continued on next page)
“Usually things from his childhood seemed
smaller when he saw them
as an adult, but Moosehead seemed larger and more im- posing than he remembered.”

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