Bear With Me

While Callie’s in the middle of cutting herself, her dad punches a hole in her door. His forearm pops through, shattering the wood like glass on her pink rug.

“Jesus, Dad,” Callie says. “What are you doing?”

Callie’s dad rips out a hanging slice of wood. The top of his head appears through the hole. His dry, ashy hair is shockingly fine, about to shed away. Once he has his nose through he shifts so he can face Callie, the spikes of wood scratching his throat.

“Why are you doing that?” her father says.

Callie has never seen her father punch anything before, lose his breath, or expend effort. The most he exercises is a walk around the suburban hills at dusk, winding through the historic district to Lexington Center, where he orders a Heath bar soft serve at Candy Castle. As he comes back up the walkway at the end of the jaunt, his face is fresh and rested. Callie hates to walk so slow, has to move in advance of him whenever they travel by foot.

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