When Light Shatters
His door is cracked, so I push it open. “Jackson, your mom wants you to––” I don’t remember what I was going to say because when I see Jackson, his cheeks are red. It’s hard to see them under his Oakland A’s cap, but his eyes look red too. Sitting on his bed, he wipes some tears off his face and sniffs.
“Did you get hurt?” I ask.
He shakes his head.
“Did something make you sad?”
I climb up onto his bed and sit next to him. “Are you sad about Tyler getting hurt?”
Jackson looks at me. “Tyler died,” he whispers. “We’re not going to see him again.”
I shake my head. “That’s what I thought, but then I heard my dad say…” that Tyler should never have been riding my bike. If my dad wanted me riding the bad bike, he wanted me to die. He wanted to never see me again. And that can’t be true because Daddy loves me, and he tells me so whenever I’m with Tyler. But if Tyler’s gone, maybe Daddy won’t tell me anymore. Daddy hasn’t said anything to me at all since Tyler’s crash.
“Never mind,” I say. “I think you’re right.”
“I’m just sad,” Jackson says.
“Okay.” He looks down and I look around his room at all the baseball posters on the walls. “My mom holds my hand when I’m sad.”
“Does it help?”
“Sometimes.” I open my hand to him. “We could try it.” He reaches for it and holds it tight in his.
After a while, I say, “I’m sorry you’re sad.”
“Your mom said you need to set the table.”
“Okay.” He sniffs and wipes under his nose with the back of his hand. Not the hand holding mine. The other one.
We hop down from his bed, and he lets go of my hand. I walk toward his door, but he catches up to me and gives me a hug. I hug him back, resting my head on his shoulder when he rests his head on mine. I don’t know if holding his hand made him less sad, but I hope this does. It makes me feel a little better. Because if Jackson is hugging me, maybe he didn’t want me to get hit by the truck. Maybe he just wished nobody got hit.
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