“To hell with God!” fumed Victor
as he stood in the church. Blue-black
bags hung under his tear-stained eyes.
Life had been fine. Not
beautiful, not Margaritas on a tropical
beach, but fine all the same. And then
Dad had to just go ahead and die.
“Damn him!” Victor cursed under his
He clutched the top of a nearby
pew, feeling awkward and alienated but
most of all alone. The casket loomed
ahead of him at the end of the aisle
like a judgmental monolith, wood-brown
for stilled blood and thick with
death’s certainty. He wanted to be a
man before his father. He did not want
to weep. Reluctantly, he took one step
forward and then another. He moved as
if he were someone else, a stranger in
his own body watching himself on film.
He intensely wanted God to exist
at this moment. He wanted Dad to be
eternal, a minor angel in the
constellation of the heavenly host.
And yet he raged against the Lord
as well, boiled to get his hands around
the neck of this soul reaver that
pompously plucked people from the
mortal sphere. Mothers from sons.
He was almost to the casket now,
and he steadied himself once again, as
if the coffin emanated a veil of cold
air that only the dead could pierce.
Victor fell to his knees. “Dad,”
he moaned, yielding up the last
pretenses of hardness and allowing the
tears to flow. There had been a
hundred kindnesses, a hundred laughs, a
hundred admonishments, a hundred
shouting matches, and now -- stillness.
Victor was 30 and alone in the world,
and the tears he cried were for himself
as well, for the knowledge that at
times like these pieces of you fall
away leaving holes in the spirit. And
he felt full of holes as he cried in
this holy place..."