Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson
Twelve- year-old Z J is the son of Super Bowl champion Zachary Johnson. To fans, this football legend is a 223-pound powerhouse, the player who gives the game everything he’s got. Game after game.
Football is an important part of ZJ's family life. For him it is huddling under a blanket with mom, sitting close to the action, cheering for dad and the team.
For this boy the superstar on the field is dad. He’s the man who carried his son on his shoulders, shared family picnics in Central Park, plays friendly games of touch with the neighborhood kids.
My dad’s just my dad,
he's my dad, which means
he’s my every single thing.
Then things change. For reasons Z J doesn’t understand, dad is no longer going to practice. He sits at home, sometimes starring out the window and seeing nothing. He is often angry. He forgets his son's name.
his head 's not right anymore.