"What Was Taken"
By the time the police arrived, Dennis had dragged me into the yard, standing close to the truck so we could make a quick getaway in case the “people who did this” decided to exit through the front door and chase us. We stood in silence as the sirens and the lights singled us out to the neighborhood. Heads poked out of houses, blinds slid open, and cars driving by slowed. And all I could think – as the officers walked through the house and Dennis, taking inventory, barked the things we were missing at them – was about that weekend I went camping with my dad when I was 12. We had just pulled up to the campsite, the sun had set and he was in a bad mood because traffic had delayed us. He hated pitching a tent in the dark, but still, he whistled while he did it. Perhaps it was his whistling that roused the buck nearby, who came charging out of the woods at such a speed I couldn’t help but stand and stare at it, wondering at the way I couldn’t make out its hooves. The only thing I’ve ever seen that has matched the speed of that deer was my father, who picked me up and threw me in the truck so fast that my shoulder popped out of its socket. The buck head butted the driver’s side door, making a dent that looked like a sculpture. My father drove up about a half mile from the campsite where he put my shoulder back in place and let me drink some of his soda with whiskey in it. When we went back to the camp site a few minutes later, my tears dried and sticky on my face, the tent was in shreds and our cooler of food was on its side, sandwiches and ice cream bars mushed into an unrecognizable pile. I sat quietly, thinking about cleaning up all that mess, when my dad put the truck back into drive and pulled away. “It’s just stuff,” he said when I sniffled.
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