Ethan was five when he made his toy cars smash into one another. He screamed in joy when they hit. He then would get up and click his playlist of mp3 songs on the computer he’d been downloading since he’d been four. When he started his mother was amazed. “Funny how he never got into kids songs and how he’s all into music.” None of this surprised his father.
When he was eight he was running around the house while the music played. He jumped on the couch, flailing hands on air guitar. From the couch he leapt straight onto his play table, where he liked to paint. The table collapsed but Ethan kept playing. “I’m Pete Townsend,” he cried, smashing the air guitar to pieces. “I’m Who, I’m Who, and I’m whooooooo?”
“I don’t know who you are,” said the father as he wrapped him up in his arms until Ethan began to settle.
“I’m The Who,” he said and laughed. “In Cincinnati.”
His father had no idea how Ethan picked up that reference. The Who in Cincinnati? Wasn’t that thirty years ago when they played there and the people got trampled? Ethan was a sponge.
Today, when the school calls, his father is not surprised. Nothing in the world surprises him anymore. There are some pictures that Ethan has drawn. Would you like to have a look, Mr. McGrath? The father doesn’t think he can.
The hill he is climbing has just gotten taller. He feels it’s now a mountain and he needs oxygen but the tank is empty then thinks, “There is nothing wrong. Nothing is wrong.”