This happened last week:
Joe walked into our bedroom after taking a shower. Henry, as usual, was waiting (impatiently) for him to exit the bathroom.
“Daddy out shower!” He exclaimed as Joe walked past him in a towel.
“Daddy PWAY Henry!”
Joe stopped to pat Henry on his soft blonde head as he made his way to the closet to get dressed. Henry, feeling slighted, walked over to Joe’s guitar, which was perched, as usual, on its stand, and without so much as a warning, pushed it over in one swift, deliberate move.
I was in the kitchen packing Joe’s lunch. (Editors note: before you assume I’m a domestic goddess who always packs her husband’s lunch, you should know that Joe takes the same two things to work every day: a tuna sandwich and a bag of Doritos. It takes me longer to wash the smell of fish off my hands than it does to prepare the lunch.)
I heard the guitar hit the floor. Like a bone breaking, I heard it shatter. I heard Joe scream and Henry cry.
“Nooooooooo!” Joe said. “Nooooooooo! Nooooooo!”
I’ve seen Joe lose his shit before. I’ve smelled his fear and tasted his dread. I’ve tried, usually with little success, to quell his panic at moments such as this.
Like for example …
Last month, I watched his face turn white when he realized he’d devoted the cover of his newspaper to the promotion of an event that had already happened. A year ago, I watched him projectile vomit out a window on the interstate while driving in rush hour traffic. Three years ago, I watched him weep when his brand new flat screen TV exploded in front of his eyes. (Who can forget that?) And early in our relationship, I watched him pitch his bicycle into a grassy median and demand I pedal home and get the car after I had pushed him too far on a ride.