The boy sat outside the shattered church window
Wearing a wrinkled black suit
With his look of resignation

His fourth rock had broken a tall section of stained glass
It lay in the middle of the narthex, on


A lake of black glass

The boy sat in the dark
Listening to the security alarm
waiting for consequences
For his sacrilege

His mind was full of long ago fishing trips
With a recently deceased father

Quiet predawn rides to the country
A single boat launched into the water
Two fishing poles filled with magic lures and hope
A far off speed boat breaking the silence
too distant to make a ripple, on



A lake of black glass



“I just knew someone who loved me would come pick me up.” Lana could hardly believe that Brad was in the hall and hugging her. There was magic in the air and love in her heart. He was smiling which meant he had to be in a fantastic mood. Brad rarely smiled which made his smiles all the more precious to her. "You have good news don’t you?”

His smile grew even wider as hugged her again. He kissed the tip of her nose and flipped her braid back. But inwardly he was thrilled that she had run to down the hall just to see him. “Very good news. The best news ever. Better news than even you could possibly imagine.”

Her heart skipped a beat as she pulled out the key to her room. He had broken up with Michelle and was going to ask her out. “You’re going to sweep me up and carry me off into the wild blue yonder?”

“Hardly, I said the news was good. No one wants to be stuck with a second year dental student. All you have to do to scare people off is tell them you’re willing to demonstrate what you just learned. On them.”

Lana picked her notebook up off her desk. For as long as he had known her she had been carrying notebooks around. “My sister is pregnant.” Grabbing his face Lana kissed him the way she’d always wanted to. The occasion warranted it. All too soon the kiss ended. Dark images crept into her mind. Images of Brad and Michelle celebrating the news. Together. In bed. She grabbed her laundry basket from the closet so she wouldn’t have to look at him. “Congratulations Uncle Brad.”

“It’s pretty cool. I never thought it would happen this quickly, but I’m sure glad it did.”

Getting married and having a baby was a goal of his. She had looked at his list of things. The thought hurt. Brad looked around Lana's half of the room. There was nothing to indicate female occupancy. Her baggy black sweater made her look about twelve. “You’re too skinny.”

She gave him what appeared to be a genuine smile. “Nothing you say is going to put me in a bad mood today.” A stack of CD’s went into her backpack. “Do you need to get back right away?”

“I don’t exactly know. I guess it sort of depends on what Michelle wants to do.” Her hands faltered as she grabbed another CD. “Michelle?”

If only there was some reasonable explanation for everything. He wanted to talk about the fight with Michelle but he knew he didn’t have time to explain it and he desperately wanted to talk to Lana about Natalie being pregnant. She would understand and he could always talk to her. In the meantime she was still staring at him. “That’s the reason I came in to Madison today. I ruined our last date barfing in her bathroom and bleeding all over the place. I had to have my dad come pick me up because my stomach hurt so fucking bad.”

“Where were you bleeding from?” Her words were like the crack of a whip but his reply was cool.

“My nose of course. It was even worse because it started bleeding in the car again. Not as much though.”

A shiver went through her. “Brad, look at me.” He did. It was nice to look at her. Even in the ill-fitting clothes. “Swear to me that you are clean.”

When he raised his hand his voice was low, sincere and earnest. “I’m clean. I swear it.”

She hugged him again but it was a very different hug than her earlier ones. Tears pricked the back of her eyes as she reached up to touch the side of his face. “You go out with Michelle. I’ll call home for a ride.”

The intensity of her gaze burned him. He said a silent prayer to a God that he didn’t believe in hoping that he could convince her to come back with him. Please come home Lana, I need you. Michelle doesn’t get it and she doesn’t like Natalie but you do. “No, I told her you were coming with. She wants to meet you.”

She shook her head and took his hands in hers. “Today isn’t a good day Brad. I’m really not in a very good mood.”

“Hey, Lana, what happened to the little girl who was skipping down the hall? I thought she said that nothing could ruin her mood or her day.”

“She’s seen what kind of nose bleeds her friends have and she’s scared.”

He tucked an errant curl behind her ear before he sat down on her bed. “My nose would bleed like that anyways. Ever since that bookcase came crashing down on it. The worst part is it always goes into my stomach.”

He started feeling queasy again. She pulled her hands away and suddenly, the room was cold. “Really Brad, I’m fine. I have some things to do and since Chelsea isn’t here.” She gestured to the empty bed. “Please Lana, it would really mean a lot to me. And I was wondering if you’d do me a favor.”

“Such as?”

“I want to go get Natalie’s baby a ring. She lost her baby ring and she always said she was going to get one for her baby. And just between you and me, I think she’s going to have a girl. In fact, I’m sure of it.” Lana's sweater was ugly but her eyes had a misty far off look. It was captivating. She clapped her hands together and spun around. “I just had the greatest idea. We could get a stocking for the baby. St Nick could leave the ring and, we can listen to my Elvis CD. I got one for Brent too. How is he by the way?”

“I’m not my brother’s keeper and I suck at reporting. You better come see him. Just to make sure everything is okay.”

“I don’t know Brad.” He had to be drunk. There was no way in hell she was going to go over to his house when Michelle was there.

“We can do brunch or something. I have to drop Michelle off so I won’t be home until later but maybe tomorrow we could all hang out. Is this all the stuff you have?”

He picked up her laundry basket. Then just for kicks he picked her up too. “Just be happy for us, please Lana?”

“I am happy Brad, your family deserves some happiness and put me down. I can walk you know.”

“But I never get to carry my little girl anymore.”

“I’m not a little girl anymore either.”

“You’ll always be my little girl. Brent’s too. Natalie always says you’re the little sister she never had.”

“How’s she doing?”

“She’s sick and not very happy that she’s pregnant. She and Dan weren’t planning on having a baby so she’s all freaked out about the money stuff. And just so you know, if the baby is a girl she’s getting the middle name Renee. That’s one of the things Dan and Natalie agree on. You brought them together so…”

“I didn’t bring them together.” He wasn’t going to argue with her because he knew she was touched that Dan and Natalie were giving the baby her middle name. He wasn’t going to tell her it had been his idea either. She was just as lovely as she always was but she was so thin it was scary. He put her things in the trunk and opened the car door. “Lana, this is Michelle. Michelle, this is Lana.”

Sitting in the car Michelle looked at the delicate beauty before her. Flawless skin, rich red hair, the ugliest clothes she had seen in a long time and a faraway expression in her bright green eyes. She belonged to a completely different era. Michelle looked over at Brad who was standing with his hands in his pockets. There was a quiet smile on his face. She had never seen him like this before. Totally relaxed, chit chatting away, completely at ease with the woman standing next to him. Almost like he was her brother, no, almost like, she narrowed her eyes. Almost like he was her boyfriend. Or her lover. “You don’t mind if Lana sits in the front seat do you Michelle?”

A tight mouth grew even tighter as Michelle bit her lip. No way, no fucking way. There was no way she had heard Brad tell her to sit in the back seat of his car when she was his girlfriend. Incredibly he was still talking. “It’s a long standing arrangement we have. I’m the driver and she’s the DJ.” Lana started backing away from the hatred in Michelle’s hazel eyes. “Brad, it’s okay.”

He flipped his key up in the air and caught it with his right hand. “Michelle doesn’t mind. She gets to ride in front all the time. Remember the time we took the sunroof out and Brent wanted to ride on top of the car?” Icy particles stung Lana's cheeks but Lana was reliving the last road trip that she, Brad and Brent had taken. She remembered the wind whipping through her hair and falling asleep between two of the people she loved most and best. That had been such a good day. Suddenly she was homesick. She turned to look at the lake. Brad followed her eyes. The lake was almost totally frozen but he remembered sitting on the pier and sharing ice cream with Brent and Lana. Memories of the good old days came back to haunt him. Someday Lana, someday soon the three of us will go on a road trip again. We’ll have whatever we want to eat and drink. We’ll go someplace whimsical and stay up late telling stories and sleep in the same bed together. That was a hell of a lot of fun and you look like you haven’t done anything fun in a very long time.

It was so god damned cold Michelle wanted to curse. Stupid fucking Brad and his stupid fucking friend were just standing there. They weren’t saying anything and they weren’t even looking at each other. Just down and out across the lake but Michelle knew she wasn’t a part of their secret little world. God damn Brad Summerville anyways. Then she remembered he had said they could stop at the mall on the way home. He wanted to look at rings and if there was one thing she knew about Brad it was that he never said anything lightly. She took a deep breath and went to sit in the back seat of the car. But the two silent figures didn’t pay any attention to her. They stood looking at the wind whipped water caught up in some distant memory that didn’t include her, didn’t include reality and didn’t include the rest of civilization either. The trip home was going to be a long one.


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