I didn't expect much.
I have learned not to. When Ethan left this morning, his kiss barely
hit my cheek before he was out the door.
"Have a great first day of High School!" I called.
"Uhhh." he faintly replied before the front door slammed.
I couldn't help letting my mind trip back over the years.
When I picked Ethan up from his first day of kindergarten and enthusiastically asked,
"How was your day, son?!?"
he had frowned and barked, "I ain't tellin' you."
Emphasis on you.
So when Ethan trudged up the walk late this afternoon, black pants, black shirt with the Jolly Rodger on it, black back pack dangling, I didn't expect much.
Nonetheless, I still asked, with all the enthusiasm of 9 years ago,
and none of the expectations.
"How was your first day?"
"Alright I guess. I'm tired. I don't feel good."
It all tumbled out of his mouth in one continuous stream, and before I could say anything he was through the screen door and into the house. Guy came up the walk then as I called behind Ethan with a tease,
"Nice to see you too, son! Thanks for the kiss hello!"
"I'll kiss ya!" Guy smiled.
He told me fragments of what he had been able to wrestle from Ethan
on the way home from school in the car.
I finished up my yard work and headed inside.
I found Ethan curled up on the love seat in the den trying to fall asleep before we could make him do anything, like chores or homework, or - heaven forbid- talk. I plopped Jonah onto his back (he never gets mad at Jonah for waking him). He rolled over and told me he thought it would be cool to "sleep forever". I asked about first period, then second, and so on. Each time he started with, "I don't remember", but eventually a little of his day leaked out between quips of sarcasm and exaggeration. No, he hadn't made any friends. Yes, a lot of other kids brought lunch from home. And surprisingly, when asked if he had any lame teachers, the answer was a simple, "no". He had overheard a senior talk about him to a friend, "That kid looks mad", and thought it was funny. He did his best scowly face at me and grrr-ed like a pirate, then laughed.
I will hear more about his day over the coming hours.
The big picture will take shape slowly over days.
It's not the easiest way to communicate, but it's Ethan's way.