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In his eyes*

Wake up. Wake up! His brain yells through the sleepy fog that hangs low and heavy on his consciousness. He tries to lift his eyes but really he is just too weary. Somewhere faraway, a phone is ringing. Now it’s become a fire engine roaring down the street. And now it’s an alarm. The fire is in front of him.

It’s jarring but he’s a spectator even in his own dream. He’s not spurred into motion. He simply watches the house burn down around him, sensing the urgency but unable to rouse himself.

Slowly panic engulfs like the flames, but still he remains stagnant, knowing he’s about to die, but too paralyzed to do anything about it. He is a prisoner of his broken body and his over-medicated brain. His heart hammers against his chest.

Deep inside his head, he knows that he no longer lives in a house.  The small detail reminds him that he is still sleeping. The screaming alarm is once again the phone.

The call is from his daughter. He can envision her face right now, cradling the phone on the other side of the world, 45 minutes away, children flanking her on all ends – frustrated, annoyed, disappointed, but not surprised. It’s far from the first time he hasn’t been able to get to the phone, even for a wakeup call he asked for; one that he needs to make a doctor appointment he has already rescheduled three times.

She is a good girl, his daughter. He sees her as child; the long dark pig tails, the green eyes that match his own, or at least used to when his own eyes were less muddied; the ready smile reserved just for him. He has failed that little girl who he promised in her crib to protect from harm. He never expected that he would be the one hurting her.

He pushes the thought away. It wounds and he needs not to think about it. Right now, he needs to focus his energy to wake up, to answer the ringing phone, to make his appointment.

With monumental effort, he forces himself to open his eyes. Through blurred vision he takes in the vials of medication scattered on the table, the clutter of boxes overloaded with books and papers, the slop of food on the floor from a 4am binge on cereal and ice cream that he barely remembers. A few pills lie there as well. He momentarily wonders if they are medications he never took, or extras that dropped after taking something he shouldn’t have. His heart quickens.

The ringing stops.

Disgusted by his failure but filled with relief, his eyes droop back down.

She will never again look at him the way she did once upon a time ago when he was a hero.

A tear slides down the side his face. He was a hero, strong and beautiful. Ah. I remember you, he recalls wistfully, drifting off; his mouth lifting in a small grin.

Go to sleep. Go to sleep. His brain now commands and all pain fades into unconsciousness.

Once again he has found peace.

Strong and beautiful

Strong and beautiful

About Ice Scream Mama

Mama to 3 boys, wife to Mr. Baseball and daughter of a sad man. I have a double scoop every day.

42 responses »

  1. Pingback: Upstaged by sunrise | litadoolan

  2. I feel your pain .

  3. Don’t apologize for the subject. Always what you write no beautifully about!

  4. Sad but I like it

    Sent from my iPhone


  5. Pingback: Weekly Writing Challenge – Leave Your Shoes At The Door | Joe's Musings

  6. This is perfect, Mama. Love it, even if it is sad.

  7. While it is no children eating candy under a rainbow, it is beautiful in its own way. And painful and true. Well done.

  8. Every time you write pieces about your father I am awestruck at the feelings you can conjure with words. But this piece is on a level of its own. I think this may be the best writing I have ever read of yours. Heartbreakingly sad, but georgeously written.

    • i really appreciate that. i find it really therapeutic writing about him. and once the essay is done, it’s done. i kind of detach and appreciate it as a good essay and not as part of my life. so suffering = good writing? maybe.. thank you.

  9. Natalie DeYoung

    Wow. I really appreciate the way you are able to see things from his perspective – not the easiest of tasks. Especially when it’s a subject close to your heart…

  10. I agree with Samantha – I also think that this is some of the best writing of yours that I’ve read. You capture the voice of your father in a very believable and heartbreaking way. This piece is really well done. Thank you for sharing it.

  11. Beautiful. Such a short moment of time that captures so much history and emotion. Even though it’s sad, fantastically done.

  12. Oh wow that is so perceptive of you to write about your father like that, I’m very sure you both love each other deeply. Best wishes to you and all of your family, and thanks for sharing. I look forward to reading more!

  13. So, so powerful. And very brave to reach in and try to see things from a loved one’s perspective.

  14. Just wanted you to know I was here and I read, but I don’t know what else to say. 🙂

  15. It is hard (but helpful) to try and understand why those we love act as they do. This was beautifully written.

  16. I’m thinking that might be a photo of you and your dad? Very personal and lovingly written. You met the challenge well.

  17. I was gripped by every word.

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