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the empty

The fat girl as they call her, came to school with a hypodermic needle in her backpack. It may have been to defend herself, it may have been to instigate something. She comes from a broken home and this is her second or third school. E steers clear of her, and the bullies she tangles with. It was never understood  - how things began, who threw the first insult, the first punch, the first grabbed book but the end is a chronic cycle of violence. At one point, the girl's mother got the police involved and this was seen as offensive, a step too far. The police did not resolve anything so it was all just a lot of saber rattling. That is the most common sound here. The empty threat.

Last week, there was a sobrani, sort of a cross between a parent-teacher conference and a school meeting. I was busy, so E went by herself and took notes. Five minutes in she messaged me, that I was wise not to be there. Nothing about this girl was going to be resolved.
"Boys will be boys" was all …

combat boots and red socks

There is a ripple of laughter dancing around the dinner table. E is perched on her chair, her head tilted back, her mouth wide open as she howls. N's eyebrow is raised, like a movie star. V is slapping her palms against the high chair, mashing rice into her fingers. They are all in complete agreement about what I will write about this week, as sure as sure can be. The shitty teenagers obsessed with their phones during the concert, lips pursed in eternal duck faces. The long wait in the cold because we could not find the VIP entrance, and then eventually did in the back of a parking lot next to a tiny market.

They know I will piss and moan about the lack of food, the choice of whiskey. And as for the bomb threat that ended the show, and how no one announced we should all leave the building? Well, I must write about that too, with righteous indignance. Were they just going to let us all stand there and hope it was a fake threat? 

But I am doing none of that. 

I am swept up in the realization that I took my daughter to her first concert. People were indeed getting trampled. Beer bottles shattered. Cigarettes dangled above our heads and dripped hot ash. My child knew the words, and shouted them at the top of her lungs. She pumped her fist in the air. She wobbled back and forth in a new pair of Dr. Martins, their laces dancing around her ankles. She shivered with excitement. I leaned on the railing next to her, feeling invisible. Not the dad in the Fat Possum hat, not anyone. A ghost. The music bounced around the room. Beautiful, stark images played on a wall of screens. The drummer pounced and flailed. The singer wore red socks, his black pants hiked up for some flood that never came. 

She was happy, even thrilled. 









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