The wood cracks and hisses as my father approaches. Zack and I are sitting on the second to last step, huddled together, the wooden railing high and thick. From the corner of my eye I can see my parents’ bedroom door half open, my mother’s toes at the edge of the bed. We’re eight and nine years old and my father towers above us. He’s big and tall and he has a deep, resounding voice.
He says: “Go inside and give your mother a kiss.”
Zack gets up, and I inch closer to the wall.
I hesitate, then say: “I don’t want to.”
I saw the way she looks- a cast on her head, her long hair gone, the blankets up to her chin, her eyes closed. Is it true that this is my mother? Is she even alive?
He repeats: “Go and give her a kiss”. He watches me until I get up.
“Smile,” he adds, as I reach the door.
What kind of god took her away? Made her sick? Made me almost lose her?
I check under my bed, under the blankets; I wash my hands three times; pray in Hebrew, enunciating the same word again and again until I get it right; when I twist the doorknob I count: one, two, three, four.
How do I make sure it doesn’t happen again?
I go and give her a kiss, but a bubble comes down and settles itself around me and from that moment I’ll always feel alone. Read more…