The screen door was busted at the bottom right corner – I don’t remember which one of us kicked it out because all of us were angry enough to, but I remember sporting an ankle brace that summer. Sat legs up by the pool and let bees swarm the sweat under it, complained about the tan line. Made my excuse to not mow lawns but still rode my bike and missed a few doctor’s appointments, wasn’t concerned ‘cause these kinds of injuries are just like the crude swears and familial death wishes we chug back down our throats with the last glass of sweet tea before school starts.
It was the same summer I threw my brother’s boombox from the second story and blamed his open window. Apologies were currency so I could still see friends if I said sorry to the neighbor’s driveway, if I said my allowance was funding for a new stereo. Had to sit out hikes but would ride in the car and fight a fly out the backseat window, and if dad left me with his keys I’d take the car 70 down 55 mph backroads, sprained ankle sore from shifting between gas and brakes.
On the drive home, dad would play his cds – bluegrass and folk – and he’d skip the darker songs. And I wondered if he knew what I knew when I looked them up, that one of his bands stopped making music after the front man died of cancer, if he knew that was why I spent the money on something other than a cd-player and didn’t apologize for it. Because by September it didn’t matter; I didn’t remember the guy’s name, and the screen door was fixed and my anger was settled between the mesh and the glass and we all stood and marveled at how nice it looked.