from the speakers and a wet iron smell in the air. They hadn’t heard a thing. Nobodyhad heard a thing.From that point forward, Donny isn’t there. Donny isn’t there when they find thenote. The note that says he is failing math. The note that doesn’t say he wants to livewith his father. Nor does it say that he doesn’t want to live with his mother. Just thathe’s failing math. Donny isn’t there when his mother places that note on a small table inthe front room of the low, dark house on Chastant. Photos in frames. Prayer cards. Acandle. Other things. Donny isn’t there that morning when my mother, unable to think of a way to present the news, wakes my brother and says,
Donny shot himself.
Donnyisn’t there that afternoon as Tom watches children chase each other around the pool at theJewish Community Center, splashing and skinning knees and elbows. Tom thinks aboutthe last time he’d seen Donny. It was the week before, and Tom was driving towardsAvron down Chastant after buying smokes from Food Etc. Donny was in front of thehouse, leaning against his car. Donny and Tom exchanged small talk about Brother _______ at Rummel. The bathrooms at King. Other things unremembered. But nowDonny isn’t there. Donny isn’t there at the wake, but Donny’s body is, dressed in a dark suit with a crisp white collar. His face, the first dead body for many in that room, is amystery.
How did they make him look so good? Where is the hole? Why an opencasket?
Donny doesn’t hear people say out loud that
parents should never have to burytheir children
while thinking of reasons why and never finding them. Tom is on the left,along with Dougie, Trey, and the others on the right, hoisting the heavy casket down thesteps. Each one hopes desperately not to slip, trying his best not to think about theweight of the body inside, trying not to think about how heavy someone can be when he3