I began to read Andrew Porter’s The Theory of Light and Matter. the book of short stories was recommended to me by my friend Hemi. I know before i crack the spine (romanticizing reading, as i have a Kindle) that andrew hails from my home town, but i have no inkling of the subject about which he writes. i get 2 sentences in and i realize that he is writing a story of which i am familiar. more over it’s a story of my own past. when i was in 6th or 7th grade a boy that i went to school with had a terrible accident. he was mowing the lawn. he took the bag of cut grass and dumped into the septic tank in his backyard as he was instructed to do. i’m sure he had done this with out incident many times before. this time, he dropped the bag into the septic tank. i’m sure fearing the wrath of parents, as we all did at that age, he went in after the bag. he never came back out. he didn’t die, but the boy that we knew never came back from “the hole” as Andrew has so ominously deemed it. he suffered major brain damage. he went from being a boy, a boy like my bug, if the truth be told. bright, inquisitive, sweet….to….someone else entirely. as a tween, this was my first glimpse into the world as it could be. i wrote Andrew (i hope he didn’t find me to be too much of a stalker). the subject of the email was, i knew him. in short i told him that i think we, as kids, looked at our backyards very differently after that day. his accident had a profound affect on how i viewed the world around me. i think the veil was lifted. i never again felt invincible.
as a parent of a child who is the same age as B was at the time of his accident, i can’t fathom what that must feel like. who is saddled with the blame? how do you protect your other kids? i know for the rest of us looking in, they were always the family that this happened to. i’m sure that they are much more than that. i’m sure that given time they were able to find a fit for B as he was now. and to learn to love this new child all over again.