PART A (The Psychologist) — 10

As usual, God was being way too nice to Mr. Rolman.

“Dad, watch me skate!” called the boy, pure glee twinkling in his little eyes.

Mrs. Rolman thundered, “Get out!”

As Mr. Rolman slid the screen and glass doors shut behind him, he glanced up to see his son’s steady smile still beaming from beneath the tiny quilt and larger blanket shared each night by the three.

The lights inside suddenly went dark, leaving only that joyous, baby-toothed grin etched in Mr. Rolman’s mind like a neon sign.

Again, God was being way too nice.

Mr. Rolman stood in the garage, eyeing his drugs for the night.

He knew that Mrs. Rolman knew, of course.

So words came to mind he could use.

I’m just trying to relax.

Don’t you care?

Though the words weren’t quite a trap, they also weren’t completely his.

The next night, he’d be watching their son alone.

That would mean several trips like this to the garage, leaving the boy inside to play games on the iun or TV.

But wouldn’t Mr. Rolman need the iun with him?

He shook his head, certainly not proud.

He pictured the two porcelain faces on the other side of the wall, their eyes slowly closing . . . one so much a part of him, yet both somehow the same.

The drugs had gone down easy.

He forgot all about his special words to use.

He wondered why he couldn’t calm down.

Nothing about the moment felt right.

It was all so good, yet so undeserved.

How kind of Mrs. Rolman to always put their son to sleep.

I hope she’s okay.

I hope she’s feeling better.

I hope she’s having a good time.

I hope she’s not mad.

A sharp chirping meant a message on the iun.

Mr. Rolman made his way gradually back around and in.

“You don’t like me?” whispered Mrs. Rolman at the door, her face overwhelmingly beautiful.

Mr. Rolman was confused, and said nothing.

As he lowered himself to the floor and under blankets, his swollen knee knocked against the boy’s warm, curled back.

“Daddy!” cried the boy just above a breath, with tiny fingers rubbing still-twinkling eyes, then reaching for his father.

Mrs. Rolman shook her head and fell to the couch in a huff.

She had the tight-crossed arms and scowl of a cartoon elephant mid-harrumph.

A tear inched down Mr. Rolman’s cheek as he felt his son’s breathing slow to a deep and even tide.

He returned the boy to the floor as carefully as he could.

The reason Mr. Rolman thought Mrs. Rolman might be mad is really too silly to say.

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