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One of the chaperones farted in his sleep, and we boys laughed till it hurt. Late in the afternoon at some historic site, sky full of flurries of fat flakes, the girls turned on Mary and the boys fell upon John and stoned the outcasts to their knees with snowballs. I happened to have been throwing snowballs at cars at the time, plain luck. People say I'm crazy to drive that distance for a weekly wine class, but when you finda great teacher, you make sacrifices. I did a thousand stomach crunches, because when you're eating lunch at Daniel, you don't want to leave anything on your plate. I asked if she'd seen the documents I'd left on the kitchen cabinet so she could register our son that afternoon for kindergarten in the local public school. My son got on the phone and told me how his friend at preschool had given him a toy Superman. After I hung up, I wondered if it was best to take him out of his happy little preschool, where he'd made friends, and put him in a public school. A mother described awakening in her home to the screams of her children; one son was being beaten in a corner, another was on the floor with a soldier's knee driving into his belly.
I peeled off my clothes, lay down, and thought about my son.
Don't worry, I told myself, you'll know what's best. By TOM JUNOD The idea of losing a day bugged me from the start. I didn't understand how I could board a plane in New York City on April 19, 1999, and step onto the runway in Sydney, Australia, on April 21, 1999, without having to experience — to even pass through — April 20. Sure, I knew that I was basically flying far enough around the world to kiss the sun's ass as it fled before me, but still...
Originally published in the July 1999 issue By TOM CHIARELLA About a thousand years ago, this very morning to be precise, I made my nine-year-old son three blueberry waffles in our toaster. Sometimes I can see the steam rising from the principal's coffee as I pull away. This is about as far away from everything as I can get in this life, alone on a tiny practice range, at the top of a hill, beyond the last row of houses, at the north edge of my little town. " There were eleven California wines to taste at Kevin Zraly's class at Windows on the World.
He ate them in front of the television while I walked the dog. This morning, four cars from the drop point, Gus said, "What about one millisecond? From the 107th floor of the World Trade Center, you could see the full panorama of New York — the view alone was worth the thousand-mile drives up and back.
And here are the kids who have made it out alive, the kids finding one another, hugging one another because they are alive. I'm walking in the swamp behind my house with my dogs and something snags, an old, rusty lock made up of memory and emotion. All this takes mere seconds, between the lifting of a rubber boot and the setting of it down one step farther on. One of the four men conversing at our table mentioned the city of Peć in Kosovo.
Jacob Marley's chains, you know, and I'm dragging a few links myself. The beef tournedos with porcini mushrooms and spring root vegetables made me want to stand on the chair and cheer. "A lot less than a second." "Like an eye blink," he said. I leave only when I'm sure this man has said hello, when he's used my son's name — Gus — to welcome him in. Just before climbing out, he showed his cards, asking his real question, the thing he's worried about. " "I don't think so." I shook my head, pursed my lips as if it were a reasonable proposition, and said, "No. When I gave him the one-dollar bill, he was too crushed to say thank you. Now another robot was riding the hawk, beating it on the head, taunting the hawk as it careened downward. "I think a snap might be longer." "You can't measure a snap," he said. I watch until he passes the principal, who waits at the doors every day, greeting each child by name, drinking his coffee from one of those massive mugs you see nowadays. "Oh, man," he said, "I haven't eaten in a long time," and the gauntness in his eyes told me he wasn't lying. You have a responsibility, berserk kids, a duty, to tell us what planet you came from. A loutish little wordsmith spin I impart on the thing before flinging it on. The first red Bordeaux I tasted was Les Fiefs de Lagrange 1998. At Daniel, there were eleven glasses filled with wine behind a place setting with my name on it. School is school, more holy for the young child than any church or synagogue. I won't tell him any of what went on in Littleton, that moment when the planet exploded in milliseconds, the first of many such explosions he will live through, I'm sure. I'd heard of a local public-school teacher who'd spelled the word meet as if it were the ingredient in beef tournedos... When I leave the pro shop, I am headed to my son, toward his school, where I left him on that planetwide, daily article of faith. I want to watch him gear things down into smaller and smaller units and let him help me figure as I notch things in the other direction. In the days and weeks to come, I am sure, we will hear the stories of the long, torturous drives of the parents to the high school in Colorado named for the flower — Columbine. But the competition was stiff, my son was younger than most of the other applicants, and he wasn't accepted. The radio that so annoyingly only gets West Virginia. I go into the other room to put on the TV, because three minutes is a long time to wait, and you'll see a pink line in anything if you look hard enough at it. Because I am not going to be one of these people who say, These-kids-today. I am going to remember what it was like to be that age if it kills me. Because I think I owe it to my ovaries to give them one good fighting chance. Because I am not going to be one of these people who have to do the Big Creation thing at all costs, skipping as if without doubt between the lines of creation and destruction, making embryos, freezing embryos, examining embryos under a microscope, saying, This one looks good, this one looks like a smart one, this one looks weird, throw it out. As I walked to the class, the eleven glasses of wine I'd tasted plus the '90 and '85 vintages that accompanied the meal made me very philosophical, or jumbled my thoughts — it's impossible to know. By JEANNE MARIE LASKAS I'm taking a pregnancy test, peeing on a stick. On the radio propped above the shower, they are saying there is news from a Denver suburb. I sat there desperately trying to remember it from when I was that age. I said I would do this fertility-treatment thing once, only once. I wished I had paid attention in school so that I could have spoken French to him. When I explained to him that I knew nothing about wine and was trying to learn from scratch, he immediately warmed. "Because in France, everyone thinks they are experts, and they know nothing." We made plans to meet for dinner that evening after my wine class at Windows on the World. As I walked, I thought about how I'd graduated from a public high school without knowing where to put an apostrophe. I wondered if my son would pay attention in a public school. Made them weep till they howled and the snot flowed. I closed my eyes and said a prayer for Paola, a seven-year-old girl who recently lost her sight and is trying to hold on to her life after a bone-marrow transplant. I made phone calls, dressed, and headed to the restaurant for the eleven o'clock tasting.