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.

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Iain Kelly

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