Children didn't make their own mistakes. They plunged into the pits they'd been led to by their parents. She and Lewis had truly believed they were headed the right way, but maybe they should have stopped to ask for directions. Maybe then they would never have had to watch Joey-and then Peter-take that one tragic step and free-fall.
So much of the language of love was like that" you devoured someone with your eyes, you drank in the sight of him, you swallowed him whole. love was sustenance, broken down and beating through your bloodstream.
If her father never held her on his lap, it was all part of the persona. From her father, Alex learned that everything could be distilled into facts. Comfort, parenting, love-all of these could be boiled down and explained, rather than experienced. And the law-well, the law supported her father's belief system. Any feelings you had in the context of a courtroom had an explanation. You were given permission to be emotional, in a logical setting. What you felt for your clients was not really what was in your own heart, or so you could pretend, so that no one ever got close enough to hurt you.
Alex's father had had a stroke when she was a second-year law student. She had sat on the edge of his hospital bed and told him she loved him.
"Oh, Alex." he'd sighed. "Let's not bother with that."
She hadn't cried at his funeral, because she knew that's what he would have wanted.
"Be happy she's able to have nightmares," a man replied. He was standing next to Jordan his arms folded his eyes a livid red. "Go in there every night , when she cries, and hold her and tell her you'll keep her safe. Lie to her, just like I did."
It was simple to say that behind every terrible child stood a terrible parent, but what about the ones who had done the best they could? What about the ones, like Lacy, who had loved unconditionally, protected ferociously, cherished mightily-and still had raised a murderer?
I didn't know, Lacy wanted to say. It's not my fault.
But she stayed silent because- truth be told- she wasn't quite sure she believed that.
Lacy emptied the contents of her wallet into the coffee can, bills and coins. Numb, she walked out of the gas station, leaving the carton of milk on the counter.
She had nothing left inside. She'd given it all to her son. And that was the greatest heartbreak of all- no matter how spectacular we want our children to be, no matter how perfect we pretend they are, they are bound to disappoint. As it turns out, kids are more like us than we think: damaged through and through.