He’d laid his head on the inside door of Jezz’s car, his cheek feeling the vibration from the tires. She was telling him not to feel bad about what Double-J had done, he did that a lot, pick fights with people for no reason. He grunted responses, directions to his house the only coherent words he offered. Mostly kept his eyes closed, tried to shut her out, like he’d tried to shut out just about everything else that had happened that day.

“This it?” Rune raised his head, looked out the window, his eyes blinking from the sudden light. Recognized the blurry outlines of his house. Garage door open, one car parked inside. He thought for a moment of asking Jezz if she wanted to go somewhere, he didn’t care where, maybe the Pizza Place again.

But that might mean keeping open a door he wanted to keep shut. “Yeah.” And a moment later, he was walking to the front step of his house, Jezz’s car noisily chugging away.

He saw a light turn off on the second floor. His parent’s bedroom. His father had gone to bed? Knew it was only a little past eight, that couldn’t be it. Must have gone up for something, found it, turned off the light as he left the room. We own stock in the power company?

His father would be home, mother wouldn’t be back from his brother’s hockey game for another couple hours. And he probably wouldn’t be in much better shape than he had been earlier that day. When Rune had come home from the fencing tournament that day, his father had been sitting in his recliner, watching a game on the television. Wearing a white t-shirt that was five years too tight on him and gray sweatpants, his father raised a glass of bourbon to his lips, his eyes still focused on the television screen as he asked Rune how he’d done at the tournament that morning.

“It totally sucked.” Rune felt he could be honest with his father in a way he couldn’t with his teammates. “Lost every bout. Most of them weren’t even close.”

“Huh.” His father placed his glass on a side table, eyes still screen-focused.


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