That's how Lochlan described himself once when I caught up with him at the lake. I was eleven, and we hadn't yet gone our adventure that year. We were busy swimming with everyone and watching Caleb roll over from teenage to adulthood, like a life odometer. Like a boss.
What's wrong with you? I asked Loch as he struggled to navigate the path to the tire swing.
I am, how do they say it? Lit from within! He announced with the typical bravado of a sixteen year old boy.
Did you drink the gas from your torches? Are you poisoned?
No, it means drunk, Bridgie. It means I've caught fire on the inside with the help of a little juice and I'm burning up.
Not that kind of juice, sweetheart.
Sunday afternoon was much fun after I greeted Lochlan with my violin roundabout noonish, playing an agonizingly slow, frightfully loud rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star but he grinned with his eyes closed and bore it, saying he slept more Saturday night than ever in his life. I wasn't sure if I get credit for that or if he was just happy to be home so I ruined the good humor of the day and asked what the fuck he meant when he told me I should have gotten it over with. He wins so he concedes first place? Wants to share his trophy out of goodwill? No longer cares? Come on, what gives?
I didn't say that.
Yeah, you did. You said I should have done it while you were away and Ben was around, in case. It's the stupidest thing I ever heard.
Yes, that too!
No, I mean-nevermind. What I said was I thought you had gone and done it while I was away, and that Ben was there to protect you. That's why I came home lit from within to get through having to hear about it. The emotion was relief that you didn't, not regret that you didn't. Jesus, Peanut. What kind of monster do you take me for? You need to put your ears in.
No, then the violin is too loud.
But if you don't, you're going to get your feelings hurt and it will be your own fault.
I'll think about it.
And Caleb can wait for you for the rest of his life and then some. It's called Hell on Earth. He brought it, now he can live it.
Oh you came back in fine form.
Actually no. I came back in shameful condition. I won't do that again.
But it was a good trip?
Very productive. Got my bonus. And wait until you meet Alfred.
What?! Alfred isn't his real name, is it?
No, but neither is Batman's, so we may as well keep with the theme.