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] The year Chris graduated high school, he bought the Datsun used and drove it cross-country. He stayed away most of the summer. As soon as I heard he was home, I ran into his room to talk to him. In California, he'd looked up some old family friends. He discovered that our parents' stories of how they fell in love and got married were calculated lies masking an ugly truth. When they met, Dad was already married. And even after Chris was born, Dad had had another son with his first wife, Marcia, to whom he was still legally married. This fact suddenly redefined Chris and me as bastard children. Dad's arrogance made him conveniently oblivious to the pain he caused. And Mom, in the shame and embarassment of a young mistress, became his accomplice in deceit. The fragility of crystal is not a weakness but a fineness. My parents understood that a fine crystal glass had to be cared for or it may be shattered. But when it came to my brother, they did not seem to know or care that their course of secret action brought the kind of devastation that could cut them. Their fraudulent marriage and our father's denial of his other son was, for Chris, a murder of every day's truth. He felt his whole life turn, like a river suddenly reversing the direction of its flow, suddenly running uphill. These revelations struck at the core of Chris' sense of identity. They made his entire childhood seem like fiction. Chris never told them he knew and made me promise silence, as well.
: With almost a year having passed since Chris' disappearance my parents' anger had turned to desperation. Their guilt was giving way to pain. And pain seemed to bring them closer. Even their faces had changed. She convinces herself it's Chris, that's her son whenever she passes a stray. And I fear for the mother in her. Instincts that seem to sense the threat of a loss so huge and irrevocable that the mind balks at taking its measure. I had begun to wonder if I can understand what Chris is saying any longer. But I catch myself and remember that these are not the parents I grew up with. That people soften by the forced reflection that comes with loss. Still everything Chris is saying has to be said. And I trust that everything he is doing has to be done. This is our life.