"The Comet of St. Loomis"
written by Ed Simpson
Jack Miles: I had a son. I just haven't seen him in - I don't know - 6 or 8 months maybe. He lives with a very nice couple in Louisville, Kentucky who have three other kids like him who have "special needs." He was born with severe Down syndrome. You know - retarded. After a couple of months my wife and I had made the decision that we really couldn't give him what he needed. These people could - so they adopted him.
As the social worker was walking away with him, I turned to look at him one more time - I don't know why - and...our eyes met. And I looked at those - round, wet...God forgive me...stupid-looking eyes that had never focused on me, that had never acknowledged that I was his father...and for the first time, I saw - life. This little glimmer of understanding. He knew what we were doing, Charlie. He knew. When you ship a kid off because he's damaged goods, you tend to...re-evaluate. So I asked myself if I got rid of my kid because I was basically a selfish, unfeeling bastard. And I honestly had to answer "You bet." Easy answer. No surprise. I started remembering all the hundreds of shitty things I've done in my life. I've spent a lifetime using people, replacing people, hurting people - but yours was the only face I could remember. Twenty years later, all of a sudden, I can't get that face out of my head - just like I couldn't get David's face out of my head and after awhile, the two faces became... Charlie, the truth of it is that it really doesn't have anything to do with you. It has everything to do with me. I got this stupid idea that coming here would be this...kind of noble gesture. I tracked you down because, like everybody else here, I need your help. By saying I'm sorry maybe I can prove - to me at least - that there is a part of me...that is worth a damn.