Sunday, June 6, 2010
We didn’t even see the build up—just the explosion. Friday night a good friend of our youngest daughter arrived at our house with three friends. They had traveled many hours to visit the city where Carly grew up and left eight years ago. We knew they were coming. We had invited them to spend the night with us when plans were in embryo and now here they were. We were gathered in the kitchen getting to know the three we had just met. Clark was clearing out the dishwasher with one of the friends who had offered to help. I was impressed. I asked Philip to go to attic and get the blow-up bed. He left and we continued talking. Five minutes later Phil burst into the kitchen with the bed and crying. I am convinced he had fallen down the stairs and is hurt. Just as I am getting up to go to him I hear a hysterical voice “Clark (he points at him) said it. (Clark is happily clearing out dishes with Tyler.) He said ‘Knock it off Philip.’ I don’t like it.” Paul, who is standing right by him, tries to touch him, to calm him, but he is in full fury and stomps off yelling about Clark who is strangely silent. I was shocked that Phil, almost always the happy one, would put on such a display in front of strangers. Usually before this happens we’ve seen a build up, some name calling, some sign, but we had not observed anything. “Welcome to our house.” I smile to our guests. What else can I do? I wish they had not had to witness this but this is life, the real thing, at our house at least a couple of times a year. Phil goes into the game room with Paul on his heels. They emerge a few minutes later, gather Clark, and go upstairs. Eventually apologies are made, happiness returns and Clark and Phil rejoin us downstairs.