By Brendan O’Brien

On the way home from the clinic, I circle the block for fifteen minutes. As I pull into the driveway, the Subaru’s brakes squeal and the overwhelming weight of life’s little things threatens to make my brain explode.

The doctor visit was needed to review the test results from last week’s appointment, mandated because Chloe, our special needs daughter, kicked three teachers in the testicles in a single lunch hour. A new Children of Peace school record. I find my wife at the kitchen table, lighting one cigarette off the other, our kitchen smelling and looking like a back alley poker game.

Our human blur barrels into the kitchen, her arms occupied with a gallon of milk, the K encyclopedia and a roller blade. She circles the kitchen table three times, yelling like a suicide bomber, and is on her way. In the hallway the metal laundry chute bangs three times and I envision everything landing in a milky mess in the basement. I listen to Chloe’s feet pound hard against hallway mahogany as she makes her way towards the front door. Three rings of the doorbell make me bite my lip until my eyes water and I taste the metallic heat of my own blood.

“What did the doctor say?” my wife asks. The sleep-deprived circles under her eyes have the neighbors eyeballing me as if I go MMA on her after dark.

“It’s not hereditary,” I say, sitting down.

She squeezes my hand and puts it on her hard, round belly. I feel the baby’s tiny, rapid kicks.

“It will be different,” she says.


Brendan O’Brien is passionate about beer and baseball. When the two intersect during Miller Park tailgaiting and the topic of Jeff Suppan’s contract comes up he’s known to cuss like Eminem.
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