story + illustrations / Gina Tron
I never learn anything. That’s what I’ve learned. Back when I was a kid I had this game I would do when I was bored. It wasn’t much of a game because there were no rules and nobody could win, but it was entertaining. I would pick up rocks that I found on the ground and throw them straight up into the air, tilt my head up while often backing away, and see where they would land. I would try to guess their landing place.
One day, when I was twelve, I was showing this game to my friends on the playground. One of the rocks travelled further than expect. It went towards the swing set and it hit a kid on the head. It couldn’t have just been a normal classmate. It had to be the kid whose sole reputation was the fact that he would cry over anything and everything. He would wear shirts with jet fighter pictures on them and one day he lost his place while reading a book aloud in class (which he was forced to do by the teacher.) He immediately began wailing; then, and when the rock I threw up into the air hit him in the head.
My friends and I ran the other way. We hid behind a wall where kids were playing kick ball. Somebody must have seen our group throw the rock because the six-fingered lunch lady came over and started yelling at us.
Not even a year later, I was showing the same delightful game to my neighbors in my driveway. I don’t know what kind of rocks it was but often they would break into pieces once they hit the cement. One rock, one that I threw up, smashed through the windshield of my dad’s parked green Mercury Villager minivan. My neighbors fled and went home. I was the only one at my house. My mom and dad were in the other family car, out doing something. I paced up and down the driveway fearing for the moment that I would see their red Toyota Corolla driving down the long dirt road to my house. I didn’t know what else to do but to pray. I literally prayed to God that I would do anything if he could just fix the windshield. Well, I guess God doesn’t have much pity or concern for a twelve year old who throws rocks in the air and wishes for a miracle so that their parents wouldn’t yell at them because nothing happened.
Eventually, my parents’ red car creeped up the road. I actually saw their facial expressions transform as they turned into the driveway from indifference to horror when they noticed the bashed in glass.
I waited for it.
“Oh JESUS CHRIST! What happened?!”
And I played that game again, having learned nothing. Darkness. End of rocky story.