And when he banged on our door late some evenings I would always turn off the TV to watch him. Not because I wanted to. I had to. He was his own TV show. Not a sit-com though, not a comedy at all. Yet I laughed. And so did my parents, but I noticed my Dad shake his head and stare at the floor sometimes. I guess I learned from my Uncle Perry that sometimes people laugh because there's nothing else we can do.
Uncle Perry was loud. And big. He liked to slap his hands on his knees. Sometimes he would want to dance with my mother. They would waltz around the kitchen and my Dad would drink his coffee and open and close his fist. I felt sorry for my Mom turning in circles and circles, her brown curls bouncing, her chin pushed toward him, a smile painted on her face. When it was over she would reach for her cigarettes while Uncle Perry sat with his elbows on our kitchen table, his head hanging down like something almost unhinged, like a flower long past blooming and about to drop from the stem.
Maybe he was crying?
How would I know? This was thirty years ago. I was just a kid sitting in the living room hoping he wouldn't come in there. Sometimes I think I still am.