BY EVELINA TORRES
Today God mourned with me, before I knew I was going to mourn.
Thunder and rumbles woke me up, but it wasn’t a bother, rather a comfort. I couldn’t fall asleep last night as something kept me awake. I would not yet know. I woke up with peace.
My parents called me to come to the office. I walked in the room smiling. They did not greet me. They told me to sit down. They kept still and silent. My mom was tense. She said she didn’t want me to cry. Oh God don’t let it be what I think it is, it can’t be. My stepdad’s eyes stayed on the ground. “You tell her” my mom croaked. I think it is.
This morning rain pelted down from the gray, dreary skies, blurring the window’s view. I watched as the disfigured trees were wrenched back and forth by the wind. I heard the trees creak as my mom teared up. I heard the wind swallow my cry as the words “Paul is dead” lay splayed on the ground. Shock numbed me to think that my own biological father died. Last night? I collapsed into my chair. Scalding tears poured down my face, the frog in my throat raged, causing me indescribable pain. My parents drizzled “we love you”s and “it’ll be ok”s on my head. At some point my screams and weeps and guttural bawls matched the decibel of the wind. I felt arms surround me as the feeling of emptiness grew.
Today God mourned with me.
The weather did not leave me. It surrounded my bouts of grief. My body stayed laid down on the couch that day, exhaustion filled my soul. The television was on, but I could not hear it. The only noise was the beating rain and my thoughts of hopelessness.
My eyelids would blink. My head would turn to acknowledge voices. My legs eventually took me downstairs for dinner, knowing better than me to just lay on the couch for eternity. As my arms lifted the fork, and my jaw chewed the food, my eyes stayed steady on the sunset that cracked through the dark clouds. I did not notice my tears falling on my plate. I barely felt my grandmother’s hand wipe some away from my cheek. I found myself once more laid down, unaware of how I returned, too busy with trying to solve God’s greatest puzzle.
My comfort is only brought that his death was quick, and he suffers no more. If there ever is a more.
How could there be “a more” when He ripped Paul from my life now?
There’s things I wished I never held back. Even though it has been years since I’ve uttered the simple phrase, I pray one day maybe, just maybe, Paul will know I love him.
Today God mourned with me. Or did He mock me?
How cruel it is that my two greatest fears combined into one: dying from a car and never seeing my biological father again. How is it that I had told every single person I could of how excited I was to talk to him again on my 18th, and now he’s gone? How is it that I believed I had time to catch up, time to rebuild a nonexistent relationship? There is—was—plenty of time, he was only 39. And he’s gone now? He’s gone without a goodbye? He’s gone without hearing his “I love you too”? He’s gone without seeing his eldest daughter graduate high school? He’s gone without seeing his eldest get into college? He’s gone—
The next day, as the lowly clouds drifted away, as the wind released the trees from its wrath, as the rain stopped abusing the earth, I was alone. The silence was piercing.
I was alone when my family gave me flowers, when my friends gave me sympathy cards, when the clock struck midnight and our glasses made a toast.
I was alone when I learned he was homeless, that he would not receive a burial, that he died because of blunt force trauma, that it was time to claim insurance.
As it has now been almost a year, I continue to mourn. It runs as TV static on the back of my brain. I remember as the skies turn grey again, during the inconspicuous ring of the house phone, when I play my favorite Houston rap songs (which were his favorite too).
While my tears have come to a mere drip and the frog in my throat is sated, the rage in the questions of how and why still burns in my soul and every passing day without an answer adds kerotin to the flame. I am branded by a death that came too soon, an unsatisfactory solution to a broken relationship. I am insulted by my own social activism to help repair a broken system, which unbeknownst to me held him down, while I could not help him.
I pray that he has now found the peace that I so desire. I hope that there is a future for our broken relationship as daughter and father. I hope that it is as sweet as the cotton candy he bought me when I was three years old at the Houston rodeo, as wonderful as the rides we went on together, and as everlasting as one of the few photos I have of him of us on that day at the fair.
The world keeps moving no matter how much I would like it to stop, but maybe it’s a good thing that the flowers continue to bloom, that the sun continues to rise, that I continue to walk through life as it comes.
Evelina Torres is a freshman Political Science and CCE major from Houston, TX. In her free time, she love to jam out to music, read books, and catch up on her favorite podcast. She also likes to write personal poetry and prose as she thinks it is very therapeutic, and she wanted to submit this story because the moment was acutely painful.