My son, Saul, was the pride of the family. He was the not quite the son everyone wanted, but the son that you would be proud to have. He was an extraordinary boy, as all of my children were then. He was bright, kind, gentle and incredibly introspective. When he was younger he never talked, he just sat there off in his own mind. We worried about him a little. He had trouble making friends in school, often spending recess alone in the classroom reading. Though he came to outshine everyone in his class, having you nose stuck in a book was not the easiest way to make friends. Like most kids his age he was bullied at school. Yet for him it was worse. He never talked about it much, so I suppose neither should I.
I don’t think he ever got over elementary school, and middle school wasn’t much better. He was the black sheep of the 8th grade. He was a thinker not a social butterfly and certainly not a fighter. He would often come home bloodied and bruised but would never say what happened. He was far too hard for his age, forced to constantly steel himself from the pangs of childhood cruelty. His blue-gray eyes shined like steel, their intensity being the perfect foil of his silence.
Looking back on it there should have been more we could have done. I mean, what type of parent sees their kids bloodied up and doesn’t say anything? To late now.
As he got older he started to crawl out of his hole. It was painful, you could tell that it was hard for him but I think he got tired of being alone, or maybe just tired of being who and where he was. He was never going to be prom king, yet, slowly, my son came into his own. He started getting into music and hanging out in the local record stores. After a while he became a regular at Independent Records and started to make a few friends. For him and his friends music was a sort of escape. They even started their own band The Misfits. Not so original but then I guess nuance and edge just wasn’t their style.
I remember his always practicing with his guitar, playing all his favorite music from the sixties. I think that he could relate to feelings of restlessness that permeates through the romanticized memories of the decade. All his life he never liked where he was. I think that is why he always read as a child and why he played his guitar all day long as a teenager. Music and books can take you further than your feet ever could. Whenever he would play music you could tell that he just wanted to runaway.
I still don’t know where he wanted to go. When I asked him he would just smile and say “anywhere but here,” and then go back to playing his guitar. And that was how it was all throughout high school. He never seemed to get much better at the guitar though. It is like he liked being off key as long as he was on rhythm. No doubt that was calculated teen angst.
When he wasn’t playing the guitar or listening to music or reading he would just sit alone in his room, being a runaway in his own mind. After he graduated High School he got a full ride to the University and we only see or hear from him once or twice a year if that.