Robert and Perry have known each other since they first popped out of the womb, and they've been partners in crime ever since. Throughout all the birthday parties and playdates, Perry's family has been a mainstay. We've socialized together. They've had us out to their beach house. And now I am so livid with both of them I can barely stand it.
Yesterday, Perry's mom invited Robert over for a drop-off playdate. She does this every so often, and even though Perry is developing into something of an impudent hellspawn, we send him over because the boys' interests gel so well. They're both obsessed with tools and construction sites, and in an afternoon they can rig up a colossus of crap that could stop a school bus.
Late in the afternoon, we called Perry's mom to confirm that I was on my way to pick Robert up. The usual chit-chat, how about this weather, and then an oh-by-the-way, the boys got into Perry's dad's collection of Leatherman tools and used the knife blades to slice up his weight-lifting bench.
Off I leapt, sprint-walking to their apartment, arms rigid, fists flexing, playing out confrontational conversations in my mind. Yes, I have sharp tools in the house. But they're in a latched tool box, on a shelf nine feet off the floor, in a room the kids aren't allowed to play in. What the fuck were they thinking?
When I got over there I went in, shook hands, surveyed the damage (extensive), found the four (!) knives, gathered up Robert's shit, and took off. Can't find Robert's socks? Fuck it. Wear 'em in good health, you goddamn apes.
I've tried, but I can't get my mind around this. Both parents were home, yet neither thought to supervise the kids. Or even look in on them from time to time. Perry's their only child, so it's not like anything else distracted them. Stories from the Darwin Awards (funny) and police blotters (not funny), of kids finding weapons and doing terrible damage to each other, keep flipping through my mind. Perry's absolutely crazy about "Star Wars." What's to keep him from brandishing one of those blades like a light saber?
I feel like Robert just ran into the road ahead of me, and a truck just whizzed past and missed his jaw by an inch. And it's hard to figure out what's harder to deal with: the end of a friendship, or the ease with which my heart can be made to feel like it weighs 100 pounds.