Steve parks the car in the garage at the same moment an ambulance drives by. He wishes the ambulance was coming to rescue him, as he looks at his son, Brad.
“I need to talk to you about how things are going here at home.”
Brad jumps out of the car and runs inside, pretending not to hear him.
Steve slams the steering wheel and cusses. He slumps over the wheel, exhausted, and looks at his reflection in the glass. He wonders what happened to the good life his family once had.
When Brad was born, their family’s future was so full of hope and looked so bright. Now everything feels like a war zone, and he hates walking into his own home. How did everything turn into a nightmare, so fast? He can almost smell the battle grounds brewing inside.
Brenda and Brad are always plotting against each other these days. If they could stop trying to destroy each other all the time, maybe they could accomplish some goals together, but instead all this tension is tearing our family apart.
Steve shakes the thoughts from his head. He emerges out of the car, and slowly walks inside.
Brenda confronts him in the hallway, causing him to flinch. She sounds like she hasn’t slept in days. “What did he say about the psychologist?”
She looks like a soldier who’s gone mad; imagining enemies that aren’t there.
Steve unzips his jacket. “He didn’t say anything the whole way home.”
“Why didn’t you force him to talk?”
“I’m not like you, I can’t take this anymore. You can fight Darth Vader downstairs if you want to, but I’m staying out of it.”
“You’re calling our son Darth Vader? You’re giving up on us?”
Steve glances down the hallway, and the way the light strikes his face, Brenda realizes she’s totally missed how depressed her husband has become over the last year.
He scratches his chin. “I’m not giving up on you, but this fighting is causing me too much stress. That kid’s turning our house into a war zone every night, and I can’t handle it. If he were 18, I’d drive him to an army recruiting center tonight because he could take out a whole nation on his own.”
“But we can’t give up on him, not yet.”
“Maybe you can’t, but I can –”
“I married you because I thought you’d never quit on us. Don’t let me down Steve –”
“I’m going to get fired from my job because of him. I’m missing important meetings at work because I’m not sleeping at night, and all I hear are you two fighting with each other when I get home every night. I can’t handle this.”
“Calm down Steve –”
“I can’t Brenda! Our son is ruining our life.”
“We can’t abandon him –”
“Sure we can. I don’t know why you’re so scared of him. Why is juvenile detention so bad? He should go there. He’s turning our house into a prison every night.”
“Calm down, Steve… If we give up, things won’t have a chance to get better.”
“No. I’ve learned there are two types of people you don’t want to fight with in life: people crazier than you, and people who don’t give a damn. He’s both of those now, and I don’t want to fight with him anymore.”
“Maybe if we give him our love now, he’ll be able to love back when he finally turns himself around.”
“Sorry to break your heart, but I don’t see love in him anymore. I only see hate.”
Brenda hugs him, “Please don’t give up on us.”
Steve takes off his shoes. “I suppose it’s possible he could still become the President of the United States, but I’m starting to think he’s got a better chance of getting on America’s Most Wanted, and it’s driving me crazy trying to figure out what’s wrong with him.”
Brad sits at the bottom of the stairs listening to every word in silence. Once they move to another room, he slithers into the basement and disappears into his bedroom.