It was okay when Danny was little. Dad called them tantrums. Mom called them
meltdowns. There were no teachers yet to call them distractions or disturbances or
disruptions. Or the other words. Impediment. Intrusion. Instigator. Disorder.
Disorder. Disorder. If it happened on a Saturday, Mom would simply “go and have a
little chat” with Mrs. Druitt or Mrs. Caputo or Mrs. Marx. Then by Monday, Mattie
would come over with his wiffle ball and big red bat, or Caleb would come over with
a frog for our pond, or Keith would come over with Ranger at the end of a short leash.
And for an hour or until dinner or until Wednesday there would be sliding into home
or soaked sneakers or fetch. Maybe running through the sprinkler and Nilla Wafers
and Matchbox crash-ups. Then maybe a lost car. A sore arm. A broken car. A call
home. A car—a real one—in our driveway by 3:17. Or Mrs. Druitt in curlers. Or that
Mrs. Baumgartner over the fence asking what was wrong or could she help or boys will be
boys, am I right? And always Danny sitting starry-eyed on the back porch or the
front porch or the couch. In the middle of his room or the middle of his bed in the
middle of the afternoon, asking for an ice cream because someone had left, or the
sprinkler got broke, or could Mrs. Caputo send Caleb over tomorrow because he was so
sorry about the frog.