I think I may have made a mistake. I had good intentions. I wanted Eddie to feel part of a community, of a family, but I may have over reached. It’s taking longer that I’d hoped for for him to adjust to working at Mail-Express.
I invited him to be part of a three-day writer’s marathon I was hosting, taught by Joyce Sweeney and Jamie Morris. Mostly young adult, and children’s book authors—the whole thing seemed to depress him. Between you and me, I think it dredged up memories of his own sad childhood. I could see it in his face when stories about happy children with loving parents were read around.
I’ve been trying to make him adjust to my lifestyle without asking him what his lifestyle is. To be honest, I’m afraid to ask. Sometimes his mood is so dark I’m uncomfortable to be in the same room with him. Then he snaps out of it and cracks a funny Eddie joke as if the dark mood never happened. Strange.
“What types of hobbies do you enjoy, Eddie?” I say it not trying to sound like I’m prying. He shrugs.
“Have any guns in the house?” he asks. Just like that. As though he were asking for a soda.
“Why?” I ask.
“It’s hard to trust someone who answers a question with a question. It’s not really an answer now is it?”
“It’s hard to answer the question when someone asks if there’s a gun in the house,” I counter.
“Okay. You have a point. I ask,” he says, “because you’re gettin’ damage on the house siding from those squirrels. They’re gettin’ ready for winter. Chewin’ is what they do.”
“Really? Why the house?”
“Because they can. Maybe no reason. Damage crap just the same. I used to hunt. Was pretty good at it. We never went hungry. All I’m sayin’.”
“I don’t want to eat them, Eddie. They’re tree rats. The thought of eating them just doesn’t do it for me.”
“If you get hungry enough, you’ll eat ‘em.”
“Maybe, but I’m not in that place yet. But I’ll keep it mind. Way, way back in my mind.”
Eddie sits in a lawn chair in the backyard watching the treeline. It seems to put him at ease. Well, at least it’s something.