They didn’t understand. Parents never did.
Logan kept walking down the sidewalk, his shoes tapping out a solid rhythm except for when he tried to avoid the cracks — a superstition he had never quite overcome. He had the sneaking suspicion that it was only silly until he stepped on a crack; anyone else could do it with impunity. If he stepped on one, he would get home and discover he’d broken his mother’s back. It was tempting to test it out today, which made him even more careful about the matter.
“Are you getting high? Drunk?” his father had asked when he said he was going out.
“Naw, Dad. Just walking. I like to walk.”
Logan’s mother kept silent, neither defending or accusing, which essentially meant her thinking was in alignment with his father, but wanted some plausible deniability if she discovered he was telling the truth. Which he was.
Tap. Tap. Tap. Avoid the cracks.
Just a walk to the park, down to the river, past the ruins of a failed low-income housing project that had been incompletely demolished, the occasional pillar of concrete standing sentinel in new forest growth, a red brick, a jutting rebar monument wrapped in creeping ivy.
Nobody bothered going there. If you wanted to get high, they did it under the nearby bridge, not by the river. It was too far away to get high when a third of the distance gave privacy enough.
His father would never understand. Logan walked because if he stayed home, he’d likely commit suicide. If he stayed home, he’d be alone in his bedroom with his thoughts, and his thoughts made him sad. The ruins, the trees, the trails… they shut down his thoughts, let him forget about the sadness he could never seem to escape except when he walked.
His father seemed to think Logan was guilty of any crime he could imagine, though Logan had never given him cause to make those assumptions. Theft, drugs, alcohol, hooliganism, you name it. His father had accused Logan of each.
He stumbled, almost stepping on a crack. He stared at it and wondered why it was only mothers would suffer a broken back, never fathers.
Maybe if he thought about his father instead of his mother, he could change that.
His foot hovered over the crack.