Friday, August 19, 2011

Response to Prompt Number Nine

My mother used to tell me that God was in the air on days like these. Skies so wide and blue you'd want to cry; the wind so soft and sweet, laughing through our hair and skirts; the dewberry brambles clustered with late summer fruits. I always smiled and agreed, but then one day I stopped. Just like waking up, I realized that it was all just a metaphor that had gone too far. It hurt her so much when I stopped believing and fell from grace. The day my father left, though, she did some questioning of her own. He took everything of value; our jewelry, our car, our hearts and hopes. He took everything and vanished. No goodbye. Not a backward glance. Months, then years went by, and no one could figure out how he'd managed to disappear without a trace. But I knew. When you're still young enough to believe half the stuff people tell you, just a handful of sins in your back pocket, you see closer to the basic truth of things the way no skeptical adult can ever see again. That man had the devil on his side, and for a good long while he'd be living large. This I knew, but just as the day ends in the west I also knew that eventually, he'd come down hard. He'd finally fall, and he'd fall so hard there would be no getting up and leaving. No, this time he'd break, and in my childish mind I played it out that I'd be there to see it. And I'd ask him, before the light was snuffed out from behind his eyes, if such an end was worth the trail of pain he had left in his wake. If he would even try to justify it. If he would even recognize me. You don't have to believe in gods to believe in devils. The proof is everywhere, and they have all the luck. But such luck always has a price. I just want to be there when my father's bill comes due.