Learning to Fall: plans. For the first week it was like being at a carnival. The bright lights of the stripper district, the sounds of street musicians, the colorful characters in costumes--mostly halter tops and platform shoes--all of it made Terry feel like he had traveled to an exotic land, Gypsy Land, somewhere in Europe. Just like in those Italian art films his momma rented all the time, the ones made by the guy with the funny name. Even the food was great, street food, which is just like carnival food but you can eat it any time of day or night, not just at night next to the tilt-a-whirl.
Only each day when he woke up, sore and tired from the night before, sometimes next to a man--one of his father's friends, or his father--it didn't feel so much like a carnival anymore. It felt like Hell on earth. Terry missed his mother. He missed the time he spent alone down at the creek, he even missed school if that's possible. Mostly he missed his best friend, N.B. Alone during the day, curled up with Tribble in a closet watching a black and white TV, Terry cried into a pillow. He cried until his eyes became swollen, almost shut.
Tribble looks up at him twisting his head back and forth every day after the crying, during their short walks through the vacant lot behind where they stay as if to ask a question or two. It's as if the dog wants to ask "Why? Why did you have to bring me here?" and, "Can I go home now?" Tribble's fur is shedding so much he's bald in spots and his ribs stick out. You can almost see what his skeleton will look like when he dies.
Sometimes when he lets Tribble off the leash back inside their dark apartment, he can see the dog look around him, towards the door, as if he's making plans--figuring the best way to get past Terry and the she-males that stand between Tribble and the door. Between him and getting home.