Once, when I was eight or nine years old, I was walking down my street. I reached a point right across the street from my house. I didn’t intend to go home, I was not on my way to any specific destination. I was just out for a walk. I stood there across the street from my house. I decided to pick up a rock and throw it at my house. I don’t know why I decided to do that. It was just one of those dumb things a kid does completely without thought, playing around. I was trying to hit the roof of our house. Throwing a rock at the roof wouldn’t damage anything, I thought. On many days before that, I had stood for hours, bored, throwing a tennis ball up onto the roof just waiting for it to roll back down to me. I threw the rock at the roof for the same dumb reason, for fun. It was a little rock anyway, about as big as the last digit of an adult’s thumb. I picked up the rock and threw it at the house. My throw was well short. The rock pierced a windowpane in the front of the house.

I didn’t know it when I threw the rock, but my mom was lying on the couch in the front room where that window was. The rock didn’t hit her, but if I remember correctly, little bits of glass landed in her hair. I ran across the street and jumped up on the porch and saw the hole in the window pane. Then I saw my mom in there. I went inside and apologized repeatedly. I was so sorry.

My mom was dazed by the weirdness of the incident. She described how she witnessed it. She saw me walking by, across the street. She saw me pause there and look at the house. She thought I was looking at her, but because of the shade and distance, I couldn’t have seen her. She saw me pick up the rock and throw it at the house. She saw it pierce the window, and she closed her eyes and winced. She felt the glass land in her hair.

I was so sorry. I tried to explain to her that I didn’t mean to hit her, that there was no reason for my action, and that I had no idea that she was laying there. I really didn’t know why I did it. I am pretty sure she believed me. Even back then I was pretty sure she believed me, but I felt so bad. I loved my mom, and I got along very well with her. We were very close. There was no hostility between us at all. But you never know what somebody will think when you do something crazy.

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