Twelve

He used to love taking afternoon naps on Fridays. He would lie down on the red marble of the first floor, in the tight space right between the kitchen and the living room. He would close his eyes, rest the two palms of his hands on his chest. And pass out as if he lived for that fleeting moment of absence. Mother scolded him. He was going to get arthrosis, his back was going to hurt. I would lie down next to him on the ground, between his open arms and chest. He recited folk stories for me. The story of the princess who trialed her lovers like a true goddess. The story of the prince who became a shepherd for her, to prove his love. Or the story of Abraham, who almost gave up his son, Isaac as an act of loyalty to God, against his own son’s life! Mother used to call it the architype of abuse. Father, he recognized the story-ness of it. Why is it that fantasies are so cruel when realized? I would listen to his monotonous sleepy voice until his lips stopped moving. I would shake him. Again. And again. He would spell out a few more words and dive into absence again. I would pull my knees and elbows together, lying in that space, in suspense. So I began to tell myself stories, first of princes and princesses, then of myself. My happy moment. I think perhaps the happiest I have ever been. Imagination is his gift to me. I lived the imaginary life that father built for me. And now he is gone. I longed for his waking up all my life. Perhaps this is why I write with a gloomy pen. I am still grieving him. I have been thinking a lot about it. What does it even mean to grieve for someone? Isn’t all life a form of grief? Loss haunts life. How un-insightful the five or seven or whatever stages of grief model is. Step by step guides are good for career forwarding minds. For me, I just need to stay in that memory.

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The Magnolia

The Magnolia

Published author. Creative writer. Historian. Lover of sand, sun, and water. I write to take care of myself.