Again, Miguel’s pain finds him again in the night, his father, Alberto, quickly beside his candlelit door, as always. For three nights now, the boy reposed peacefully in the fragrance of the sea-tinged Rosarito air. Ever the fatalist, Alberto knew it might not last, but he prayed to Virgin Mary God touch the child's head, and for only a short while, thanked her for a simple, normal night’s rest.
“There’s nothing enough I can do for you, little one,” he thinks, tears exhausted by the weary year of torment. No doctor for miles had any diagnosis; the painkillers served to numb Miguel to all experience, and when would they ever be able to afford help in Mexico City?
“The one remedy, then, again,” Alberto decides. He pats his son on the head, empathy swelling in his eyes. “I will be back in a tail shake. I’ll bring you some water.” Miguel looks up from his tears with a faint smile. “At least one day in Heaven, no one hurts anymore,” he says, “like Nana Corrina.”
“That’s true. But Heaven is still a long time for you, Miggy, okay?” He takes his son’s hand and gives it a squeeze. “Pray God send his angel to touch you. You are not alone. It is hard sometimes, being on Earth.”
“I’ll be strong for you, Papa,” he says. The child then stares out the window at the moonlit trees, and some imagined place, flying free from pain, as his father recedes to the kitchen, stepping over a pile of clean sheets left out of the drawer. Even with only the two of them, since Linda had left to work in America, the domestic touches went unfinished. The silent desperation of Miguel’s pain created a vortex of lost energy. Only love, dedication, work, and habit kept Alberto going. He felt like a lost person awakening in a strange forest.
He looks at the telephone, thinking. “Linda is asleep. She has to work the next day. There is nothing she can do besides pray and cry. Sometimes it seems that is all we do anymore.” He looks to the kitchen knife, anticipating what he must soon do. He takes a deep breath. “Sometimes, it seems that is all we will ever do.” He ladles a cup of fresh water for his son into an earthenware cup, and returns to the room, to sit a while, dazed. Work will come with sunrise, and he will have no choice but to meet the day.
Alberto realizes his son, breathing lightly, feigns sleep, to reach sleep. “Perhaps this boy wishes free his poor father from his vigil. He uses all his strength to keep me from worry for him. So brave, my son,” he thinks. He steps to the door, feeling his son tense beneath his bedsheets. “I must do what I must do.”
Alberto steps back into the kitchen. He looks again at the phone, wondering how many paid minutes Linda has. He looks at the picture of the Pope on the mantel, above his own palette, and amuses himself with the thought God’s minutes are unlimited. Then he takes up the knife, wipes the humidity from his brow, and rolls up his right sleeve. He walks to the doorway of his son’s bedroom, where Miguel weeps as quietly as he can manage.
He must do what he must do. Sometimes, there is no place a man feels he can escape.
(What happens next---right?)
Be Chill, Cease ill
All contents copyright 2011 Cecil Disharoon.