My dad asked for a prayer today – I said yes of course, what else do you tell your dad when he’s going blind?
He knows I’m not Catholic though – not anymore.
But I can’t stand the way he cries on the phone, my once big, strong, immovable father.
So I turn the hot water on until it steams my skin, press my forehead against the cool wall tiles, and close my eyes and pray for the first time in years.
“God – if you’re out there, and listening…”
Why am I doing this?
“My dad is feeling really bad right now…”
Why should I care?
“And even though he was tough on me…”
If you call tough being yelled at day in and day out.
“He doesn’t deserve more pain…”
Like the pain he gave my mother when he swung my Fisher-Price Corn Popper and made her fall down the steps.
“He’s had a hard life…”
Calling my mamá a pig, nasty, retarded, even as she cried, asking him if he loved her.
“I don’t really know how hard growing up was for him…”
His lip curling up in a smile when my mamá reached for the shotgun and loaded the shells in, one by one.
“He deserves a chance to be happy…”
She missed, she couldn’t even get that right, he said.
“He’s worked his whole life…”
He once told me there are couples who are so much in love that they can’t live without each other, who die a day apart.
“Having five kids must have been hard, must of been why he was so stressed…”
But, he also told me, there are couples who can’t wait for the other to die.
“It isn’t fair – I know that there are plenty of other people that need your help, but why do they get mercy and he doesn’t?”
I couldn’t stand to be around my mamá for the longest time, I didn’t want to be like her.
“Make his eyesight come back, or at least stay the way it is now.”
For awhile, I would flinch when touched, and sometimes handshakes and hugs make me queasy.
“It’s been pretty hard for my parents, please help them…”
When I first heard he was going blind, I’d just come to terms with what he’d done. God, I cried and told you he deserved it, he deserved to have his world disappear and go black, to feel lost and alone.
“He called me on the phone today and said he was proud of me. He wanted me to know that the doctor said surgery may not work and I told him there is hope, otherwise why would they try to help? He asked me to pray for him. So here I am, asking you, to make my daddy happy for once in his life, to make him smile a few more times even though we couldn’t.”