You cried in the car all night.
A pack of smokes and half a tank of gas to work out your anger, fear, self-hatred.
His boyhood dreams of greatness lay shattered on some far away board room table
surrounded by those whose job it is to look him in the eye and
with a single handshake, win through his loss.
None of them had ever met your kids.
Gone, now, the days of dinner party gossip arrayed in haute couture fineries.
“Who the hell really needs a horse after all?” you tell yourself,
rehearsing how you’ll tell your daughter.
Your fair-weather tennis club friends were the first to get awkward
and now spoke in corners in hushed tones
and side glances over Pinot Noir and single-malt.
You had never been the country club type and never did fit in that well.
That truth now serves you well
and eases your humiliation just enough to look right at them,
even through the tears you swore you wouldn’t allow.
“Fuck ’em all” you say, but inwardly long to be seen as they are.
Tall and suave and self-reliant like they are.
White and shiny, confident and perfect, gliding handily from place to place,
these cigar night botox babes whose welcome made you feel bigger somehow but yet…
strange, like a penguin among peacocks.
“To hell with it” you cry, “it doesn’t matter now anyway.”
Even the paper boy rides past your house in disdainful laughter.
Oh, dear God, those bad men,
men with muscles and sad agenda in sweaty shirts with unwanted insignia
roll out long memories and associations of bad choices and big living.
And as the last larger-than-life dream is rolled onto the truck
a ray of light pierces you, penetrating long forgotten places.
You turn and look.
His tears match yours but for different reasons.
His shame matches your grief and you reach a trembling hand,
tracing the outline of his haggard face.
Your eyes meet four, tear-filled eyes set in anguished faces of your children and realize,
that was then.
We are now.