Yoharie (part one)
The thing that had made him hate camping.
Rocks were falling all this time, but the clip that played across the screen of Hibbler’s closed eyes was soundless. It was almost a lie…if there had not been so much rooted pain, telling him he had seen this, and it was true.
It was true, Dad.
I saw it.
He saw himself angelic, imbued with chlorophyll and sunshine, floating.
His anchored self said no. No, that’s crap.
The water of the dam flowed, mist in the air where he stood to cast a silver beam that danced, then lay gentle on the stream, and shivering. The air was clean, clean. His view became his father’s. Jeremiah, four years old, perched on the bank, dangling a bamboo rod.
“You watch you don’t fall in!”
He felt his father’s anger project through himself. Jer…stupid kid…yeah.
For the second time, thirteen when his father decided, they were going fishing. He was in the back seat, the middle, no belt. His brother was always sliding the buckle tight, so Jeremiah would have to fit himself again. Saying without saying. Fatso.
Light all around the zipper, the zipper skirting a U-shaped opening, a canvas door with a mesh window…
The light like a clinical eye. Zack had an appointment with the orthodontist, so that Saturday the family was divided. Mom and Zack. Jer and Dad and Dick.
He remembered really liking Dick, his father’s bud, even though Dick always made him feel bad, one way or another.
Kate would go ahead and say it. “Dick’s a dick.”
Would have gone.
It’s okay, a voice seemed to tell him. The voice was Giarma Yoharie’s. She had cooed it just this way, telling Valentine…
Hibbler struggled now, trying physically to rise. Of all things he wanted out of his head, the picture of Valentine Yoharie, his bambi-ish tucking of chin and wistful smile, disturbed most. But Giarma said to him again, it’s okay. You don’t have to like her. You never did, did you?
All this made for a powerful dissonance. He was not in a limitless heaven, but heavy-bodied, inert in a place of ugly reverberations. If it was all right to not like Kate…to not love her, he chastised himself, then…
At least there won’t be charges.
Because…luckily… Because not luckily. No, Shawna…
Okay. We’ll both cool it down. But he did manage not to…
He was greatly at fault. That much Hibbler knew, and didn’t know yet what was the unspoken word.
What he had done.
(2019, Stephanie Foster)