Excerpt – Sins of the Father

There hasn’t been a time I can remember where she wasn’t sick or in pain. As she grew older, her body seemed to take on the shape of a penguin, her back arched, knees bent, and her hands flopped over at the wrists angled towards the floor. Father had to be my rock, since mother couldn’t tend to me the way she used to; her body no longer allowing her to hold or caress me.

I remember the days when she used to cry, her eyes begging me to understand how much she longed to touch me, to place her hand on my face to feel its texture, to smooth her fingers through my hair to braid it.

She couldn’t help me with prom, couldn’t even hold a camera to take a picture. Mother couldn’t even dress herself, the task daunting as her fingers barely moved anymore.

Her arms were frail but littered with little lumps from the nodules underneath her skin. She barely talked or went out into the sun due to the inflammation of her glands in eyes and mouth.

Most often she ate through a straw and even when that became too much, was given an IV drip to keep her fluids up. Father or I applied her eye drops thrice a day to ease the dryness in her eyes.

As I opened the fridge taking out a pack of chicken cutlets, I thought of how important my father has been for both of us. He has attended every ballet recital, spelling bee, soccer event, tennis tournament, acceptance speech, graduation…any monumental element in my life, since mother could not.

And on top of all the excruciating childhood memorials, he still made time to work sixty hours a week, and attend every wellness care, chiropractic and therapeutic doctors visit with mother.

He still made time to help with her daily routine. When the part time nurse we hired needed to leave early or take an extra day off, father would be there to take over. He never let me miss a class, seeing my friends, or school event to care for mother.

It was the guilt that kept me home instead of going to UCLA in California like I wanted. It was the thought of not giving back to the people who cared for me so deeply that kept me home, attending the local Georgetown University so that I could help. 

I got a part time job at Stella’s boutique between Wisconsin Ave and M Street, father’s position in the bank being influential in getting the job.

I was able to have lunch with him sometimes since our jobs were so close, attend my classes, complete the household chores, hang out, work, and be there for my parents. It’s the least I could do, since father gave his life basically, for my mother and me.

It was because of this dedication to our life and family, that when the pounding on the door interrupted my meal preparation, when the police stormed in with big bold letters SWAT on their back, helmets on their heads, guns in their arms pointing here, there, everywhere, that the reality of who and what my father really was didn’t seem plausible.

I denied everything they said. All the accusations were wrong. My father was a sweet, humble, hard working, brilliant, loving husband and father. My father was not a rapist, neither was he a narcissist. He definitely wasn’t a killer, their killer…The Potomac Creek Killer.

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