"The Particular Sadness of a Centaur..."
Something odd Reuben says in the passenger seat on the way home from football practice while passing the creek, three hours before the aneurysm: The particular sadness of a centaur is that it will never fully be a man or a horse.
Later, Doctor Whitman would conclude that at this point blood had already begun to fill the boy’s brain, flooding the ductwork of synapse and banks of language resulting in the capacity for sporadic nonsensical speech, but in the weeks following the funeral Maximilian would remain skeptical, convinced there was something he was missing – that it was in fact some kind of code, a warning which, if only he had deciphered it sooner would have saved his son.
This fevered search for meaning and import of a ridiculous phrase - following his curt request to Reuben to refrain from dripping sweat all over the dashboard, to move his soaked helmet from the back seat to the floorboard - would haunt him, rendering him up all night before the frenzied flash of a screen researching a beast which had never before, to his knowledge, been an object of interest to his son. But sitting there now, printing out pages from some obscure online encyclopedia of mythical creatures, he would realize how unequipped he is for this task - the extent of how little he had truly listened to his son’s precious ramblings, and in the process of ripping open another package of printer paper would cut his thumb on the razor’s edge of stacked sheets, sit in a dim lit room bleeding quietly over his many articles, which held no clues, which offered no hints, and no matter how hard he puzzled over them would do to rid him of the shame of all things left unsaid and unheard between a father and his son.