“There’s been a lot of deterioration since last night,” my mother told me.
He’s really weak. When I came through the door on Thursday, I could see the light in his face. Saturday he did not stir until I sat down next to him. We eventually rolled him over on his back. As he stared up into the lamp hanging from the ceiling, my mother asked him “Is Brian supposed to take that down yet?” There was a green piece of ruled paper curled up in the scroll work. “It didn’t make much sense,” she told me.
I thought, “Oh, but it does.”
On Christmas eve I had told him about the lineage that he was struggling with. Yesterday we felt our way toward freedom. He suffered from childhood polio, which left him with neuropathy in his legs. “Do you remember what it was like to run, before your legs became sick?”
He paused, trying to reach back. “No. I don’t.”
“Well, maybe your mother or grandmother can help.”
As I sat on the bed beside him, I rested my hand on his hip, and then caressed downward towards his lifeless feet. “Away, away the bad stuff.” It was where the domineering will had pooled. For three hours, off and on, we worked through it, sometimes holding hands. I felt the pain of the arguments and rejection he had suffered in his childhood, mostly from family but also from the peers that enjoyed bullying this genius who graduated from high school at fourteen. “I will receive that from you,” I promised him.
Indeed, I did, as the day passed into evening. He was lying on his side, looking at me hopefully, and I put my right hand on his cheek. A look of bliss came over his features, and I cemented the connection by placing my left hand on the crown of his head. The tears came as his sorrow poured into me – carrying all those lesser spirits that had been forced into him but that didn’t have a place.
“I’m so glad that you were my father.”