From Father's Day, a story in I Saw A Man Hit His Wife

It astonishes me, the relationship between kids and their parents. You take a guy, an average guy, someone with nothing outstanding going for him—he may not even be nice. And there by his side is his kid. As far as the kid is concerned, this guy is the universe. All this kid wants is this guy's eye, his hand, a look, a hint, a whisper of some recognition. The guy touches the kid, rubs his head, takes his hand, and the kid looks at him as if he's in heaven....

I'm standing here in Grand Central Station seeing this. All around me the place is a zoo. Crazy people, wackos, weirdos, loonies, junkies, refugees from every sore and wound in the world, screeching at each other, babbling in words, sounds, grunts, gestures, pushing, humping, bumping, shoving for this reason or that or no reason. It's monstrous. Terrible. Frightening. It's an inferno—and this kid, this babe, this lamb, This innocent, feels safe because this guy is standing there right next to him. Nobody else in the world—not the guy's mother, not his wife, nobody--would find comfort in his being there. Some people move further away. He just feels vulnerable. If anybody's going to get hit this afternoon, he knows it's going to be him. But this kid—this seven-year-old boy—feels protected from God, the world, insanity, nature, from anything and everything as it all takes place in front of him beneath the grand stairway leading down from the stars. The kid looks up and sees none of it. He holds his father's hand and looks at him as if he's a hero with holy, unqualified love. It amazes me. I'm awestruck at the power, the authority, the grace children believe their parents have. It must be the reason people have kids.


 

   

Drawings by Kim Thoman
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