The Magnifying Glass

I see the journey, the path that I have taken like the wake of a great ship.

My life is not particularly complicated now, mostly it is spent trying to see what I can. My vision is 20/200. With enough magnification I can see a little although that magnification gives me horrible headaches sometimes. Darkness is something I look forward to; however there are trappings of fear that lie there. Have you ever gotten up and gone to another room and then forgotten why you got up. You usually remember when you sit back down. The other night I went into the bedroom to get something and forgot what it was. I turned suddenly and ran into the doorjamb. I have ran into things in the night had both knees bloody because I could not see and was walking too fast. I ended up sitting in the floor and crying my dog whining next to me trying to understand.

At 1:29 in the morning on April 30, 1963 I committed a great sin, an unforgiveable act; one of those sins that you will never be forgiven. I was born. I know many people who feel the hand of God on their shoulder, directing them, loving them. I have felt nothing but God’s spite since my earliest years. There will be some who will say not their God, that I am wrong, that I don’t really believe that, don’t really feel that way. They will be wrong. God has his chosen people and I am not one of them and no doubt had I not been born it would have been a better world. There is a line from the movie Constantine that I never seem to get right so I will qualify by saying that I am paraphrasing. God is a spoiled child with an ant farm and a magnifying glass.  I feel that I am the favored ant, the one that gets the attention of the glass under the sun. My dad once told me that I should fall to my knees and pray to God. I did not tell him that I have done this throughout my life, praying for peace, praying for death but mostly praying for forgiveness, long sorrowful prayers of sadness and longing. It is a great source of amusement for God.

I do not know if I was planned or not by my parents. I was sickly and frail as a small child with asthma long before there were good medications to manage it. Some of my earliest memories are of my mother rocking me late into the night and my father’s voice from the hallway asking he to keep me quiet. More than once he told me that he thought I was faking. There is one great truth in my world, my mother loved me. But I was a boy and what most small boys want is to be something to their father. I was a disappointment from birth. I am nearly 54 years old and U have never done anything that my father was proud of. I have to think that is hard to do but I have made it look easy. My father is a wonder, I have always worshipped him, the guy everyone liked. I didn’t want to disappoint and I tried hard to make him proud but it was a losing battle. I remember every cruel and mean thing he ever said. I was afraid of him and fascinated at the same time. My father wanted me to play sports. He loved to play baseball and its Texas so football is king. He tried to teach me to play catch and when the ball hit me in the face he decided that I could not play and never tried again. Years later I have been asked a hundred times by every doctor I meet if I have ever suffered any head trauma. I say no but I think about every incident, the baseball, playing football. Its not the kind of trauma they are talking about. I wonder a lot though about what I have done to cause my vision problems. When I was six or seven I was signed up for football, geared up and excitedly was taken to practice by my dad. It was the only practice he attended, deciding right away that I was nothing. My mom picked me up after the second practice and I asked where dad was and was told he was helping out with the kid down the street’s team. Now forty eight years later I can still feel that pain, that sorrow and that feeling that I was nothing. God was laughing for sure as I rubbed the burn from the magnifying glass.

I attended an elementary school that was only a few blocks from my house. I walked to and from school. My sister was three grades ahead of me. In second grade a kid from the third or fourth grade took an interest in me. I was always small, stunted by the asthma tat afflicted me I believe. Anyway the interest this kid took in me was characteristic of the attention most kids gave me. He beat the hell out of me everyday for weeks. He was devoted to it. He was twice as big as me. That short walk home was one of terror for me. I dreaded school being let out. He would wait on me and pounce. Some days I would beat him to the spot and get home safely and other days I would see him waiting with that smirk on his face. So one day I came up with an ingenious plan to get home safely. I walked a mile out of my way. It was scary putting me for a short while on a much busier road. What should have taken me minutes took almost an hour to get home. My mother was a wreck with worry. She walked to the school looking for me. She was happy to see me and my father whipped me for worrying her and then asked me where i had been. It was hard to tell him because I knew he would be disappointed like he always was. It actually disgusted him. As a boy, as his boy it was my duty to stand up to this big kid and beat the hell out of him. I told him how big the kid was. I remember the words he said, in complete disgust that I was not his son. Needless to say the beatings continued until one day when the kid caught me at the store and I kicked him in the nuts. The next day determined to seriously harm he pinned me to the ground and pummeled me until another kid jumped on him and beat the hell out of him. I was so grateful. The day after that my savior from the day before decided that it would be fun to threaten me, and seeing that I was so scared began tormenting me in class. During a spelling test he told me that he was going to beat me to a pulp after school. I remember Mrs. Sellers asking me what was wrong and when I told her she advised me that the school patrol would stop fights and that fighting was not allowed. I wondered where the school patrol had been for the past several weeks. There were many days I started crying in class. I could hear God chuckling.

For much of my 20’s and to my mid 30’s I did not talk to my father, completely estranged. We are currently not speaking. He does not like my politics. I was supposed to go to Thanksgiving  there but I could not get a guarantee that I would not be ridiculed. All I asked for was respect because now I cant get up and drive myself home; He could not or would not guarantee me even a day of respect on a holiday so I stayed home, drawing the wrath of my sister. To her I will always be the bad child and she the good child. I have long since gotten used to this.  My dad did call me and left me a message that I should suck it up and be there, it was an angry message. My niece participated in the women’s march and posted some pictures. My father commented that he thought she was smarter than me. The implication was clear, I was stupid for believing what I believe, or my niece was stupid or we were both stupid. He is 79 and I am 54 and I a still a disappointment and it still matters to me, and his words like all the others are still etched in my mind. I should get over it, should be used to it but I can’t and he knows it which is why he says the mean and sometimes cruel things. I should let it roll off me like water off a duck’s back but instead I cry like I always have. Through the tears God is chuckling and the glass burns.


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