I was home alone that Friday evening. Since you're reading this, you survived and already know exactly which day I'm writing about. Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing, in the way my parents remembered 9/11, but more so. Together, we lost the old world, slipping from that cocoon of mechanized comfort into the hellish land we inhabit now. The pre-Friday world of school, cell phones and refrigerators dissolved into this post-Friday world of ash, darkness and bloody knives.
But that Friday was pretty normal at first. I fought with Mom again after school. That was normal too; we fought constantly. The topics were legion: my poor study habits, my video games, my underwear on the bathroom floor--whatever. I remember a lot of those arguments. That Friday, they only fueled my rage. Now they're little jewels of memory I hoard, hard and sharp under my skin. Now, I'd sell my right arm to a cannibal to argue with Mom again.
Our last argument was about Warren, Illinois. My uncle and his family lived there, on a tiny farm near Apple River Canyon State Park. Mom decided we'd visit their farm that weekend. She announced this malodorous plan over dinner on Wednesday. My bratty little sister, Rebecca, almost bounced out of her chair in delight. Dad responded with his usual benign lack of interest,
mumbling something like, Sounds nice, honey. I said I would not be going, sparking an argument that continued right up until the three of them left.