(The Second in a Four Part Series of Vignettes)
Evan slammed the door. Unsatisfied, he grabbed the knob, ripped the door open, then slammed it again. He stomped off into the yard.
Sparkles in his vision wiggled on the background of darkness. His head pounded in rage.
One o'clock in the morning. Work tomorrow.
Three months bled into one monstrous day. Evan thought he could handle it, if he could just have his sleep.
Night after night. So many temptations. Hold the baby. Rock the baby. Sleep with the baby. Feed the baby. But the baby must learn to soothe herself. Alone.
And she was learning. Slowly. She cried while she learned.
Meanwhile, the night ticked away. His eyes burned in the morning. His concentration fell flat. Six hours to sleep became five, became four. The baby woke for feedings. To help his wife, four became three.
Evan looked back. In the night's stillness, he could hear the baby crying.
Frustration and fury bubbled in him like a cauldron of lava, hideously hot. His eyes raced. Desperate, he grabbed an old broom handle leaning against the shed. He savagely beat the ground. Pounding. Pounding. The blows sank, and the Earth calmly accepted them.
Still streaming fire, Evan swung at a tree. The hard connection sang deliciously in his hands, but he knew enough not to hurt the tree. He threw the stick aside, then snatched a log from a nearby stack.
He hurled it against the fence, watched the chainlink buckle, pop back, then rattle. He picked it up. He heaved it. Again. And again. And AGAIN.
Panting, Evan dropped to his knees. The lava was spattered over the ground. Spent. And finally cooling.
With eyes brimming in defeat, he looked up at the sky for long minutes. He surrendered to it. Pleaded with it.
He spied the giant square of stars forming the body of Hercules. He followed what should be the powerful reach of arms and legs. Instead of muscles, though, his mind saw only the spidery thin connection of dots.
He chuckled at the flabby state of Greece's greatest hero. Dude seriously let himself go.
He looked down. He chuckled at the mud soaking into his pants where he knelt. He chuckled at the befuddled log lying before him. Thank God the lights were off at the neighbor's house.
Evan noticed his watch, sighed, then ran his fingers through his hair. His legs wobbled a little when he stood. On his way back toward the house, he paused.
Silence. The baby was sleeping.
At the door, he saluted. An offering to Hercules and his great labors enshrined in the sky. Greek champion. A man over all other men.
He saluted then whipped him the finger.