Going Back: “God’s Will”

This is a story from self’s first book, Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila. This morning, after son and Rebecca had left for the city, self was in a contemplative mood. Alone in the house (hubby had taken the dogs for a walk), self began riffling through her first book, which Margarita Donnelly at Calyx published, thereby saving self’s life, almost twenty years ago. (When self types that, she has to stop dead. Time is indeed a river. Self was in her 20s when she wrote this story. No one in her family had yet died.)

Without further ado, an excerpt from “God’s Will” :

I hear my father again. His room is on the other side of this wall, his bed pressed up against it so I can tell from the creaking of the bed springs when he is having a bad night.

My wife Teresa and I lie awake in the darkness, listening. Neither of us speaks. No matter how tired we are, we always wake at the slightest sound. Tonight my father is weeping.

I get up and go into my father’s room. He is sitting up in bed, saying over and over, “I’m afraid.” I take him in my arms. I tell him to stop. But he will not stop. So then I try to shame him: “Is this how a del Pilar behaves?” All his life he was formal and dignified, and even though my mother said he was lazy and not a good provider, at least he had his pride.

*  *  *

In what can only be called a coincidence of monumental proportions, self (just a few minutes ago) happened to stumble across a post that poet Barbara Jane Reyes wrote two months ago (March 2009), because she’d just finished reading Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila.  Self is so moved!  Waaah!  Barb, you’ve reduced self to a mass of quivering jello!  Self links to it here.

Saturday Morning, Busy

Aaargh, self can’t seem to write when her mind is so chaotic. Still can’t quite wrap her mind around Mauricio accidentally dumping her contac lens yesterday, when he was here cleaning. Last night, dreamt that — Eureka! — she’d found it. The dream Mauricio had helpfully placed it in a little metal receptacle. Unfortunately, the metal had reacted with the lens and the lens was perforated with holes.  No, there was just one big hole (pardon the hyperbole: self knows a hole in a contac can not, truthfully, be big), right in the middle, where one would expect self’s pupil to be.

Rebecca slept in son’s room last night, son slept in self’s office. Self crept around, trying to be quiet for she loves to spend the early morning hours reading (Finished True North yesterday: it took her 10 days to get through this novel, longer even than it took her to finish a book twice as long, 1491. The ending can only be described as devastating. And Harrison waited until almost the last five pages to spring it. Self would like to advise dear blog readers: if you do not have a stomach for extreme violence, then do not read it. Self, however, adores this book: Jim Harrison is latest addition to self’s list of favorite authors.)

Son and Rebecca are here to attend a Psychology Association conference at the Marriott on 4th and Mission. Son woke around 7 and immediately started getting dressed: black pants again, grey long-sleeved shirt. Rebecca tells self they want to make it in time for the first session, which begins at 9. A total of six students and two professors are here from Cal Poly; Rebecca said she’d even met two students who came all the way from London! Self e-mailed Stanford niece: A is here! Let’s get together!

Self and hubby have a concert to go to tonight, in the City. Yuja Wang. But, first, Stelline for dinner, at 5:15. Invited son to join us, but he says he has presentation at 5 p.m.

Now, watching Green Day. They’re on Good Morning America, Weekend Edition. Early, early, around 7:30, self went to Redwood City Farmers Market, vendors weren’t quite finished putting out their produce. Bought purple and yellow string beans (only because self thinks they’d look really nifty mixed together in a salad). Celery. Garlic. Basil. And, on a whim, a bunch of red Watsonia.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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