Listening to the fireworks outside tonight, I’m reminded of Eddie, a kid who lived down the street. He was obsessed with fireworks and talked about them all year long.
Eddie was always a little shit. He was the same age as Max, and when they were around nine years old they shared a love of heavy metal bands. One day, Max ran into the house doubled over: Eddie had held his arms behind his back while Eddie’s friends punched him.
Max begged me not to go outside to confront Eddie but I was too enraged to consider his feelings. I promised not to embarrass him and went out to lecture the stupid little fucks about friendship and fair play.
Five years ago, Eddie shot himself after murdering his wife. I went to Eddie’s mass or whatever it’s called when you go to a chapel and walk past an open coffin, out of respect for his bereaved immigrant parents, who never learned to speak English. Eddie looked like a wax dummy of himself.
Why did I ignore Max’s feelings that day? Maybe I always ignored his feelings. I did what I thought was right, but that’s the battle cry of every bad parent. I wanted to protect him, his whole life long. I wish I could correct every error of judgement. Everything he suffered in life is my fault, and even if it isn’t, it is.
I wrote about Eddie here, from another perspective, and without the greater sense of tragedy I have today on this endless and pointless 4th of July.