She nodded. “I scare you because I’m stronger than you. Probably stronger than anyone you ever knew. And you don’t know how to deal with it.”
And of course she was right.
But she was wrong, too.
I didn’t want to stay, and I didn’t want to leave. I was in that thin-aired place where I clutched at indecision, a place of vertigo emotions where one wrong gesture or word or movement would make me tumble. I needed Connie to decide. I was terrified I’d do the wrong thing. It’s easier to screw up when you’re young and think you have a measure of years ahead to correct (or erase) the mistakes. But when you hit the high-sixties, there are no do-overs, and every fuck-up might as well be stamped upon your forehead in India ink.
I had nothing left behind me. A naked apartment, a few acquaintances who might realize I wasn’t there after two or three months. An agent who knew how to reach me if his world started to collapse. No wife, no kids. Staying with my sister and her grandkids seemed simpler, until I wore out my welcome, and they wore out their fascination with me.
I gave it two weeks.
But I was wrong about that, too, because I never foresaw the accident.
– Excerpt from Family Anatomy, a work-in-progress