Monday, January 16, 2012

Lighter Today

She's lighter today. Not floating, drowning. That hospital blue blanket is the ocean and her body is sand underneath, deep where it's dark, down where the fish are afraid to swim. Down where the monsters are. The medical doctors, the nutritionists, the psychiatrists, there seem to be a lot of them and they are not happy with her progress. The feeding tube is back in.

I brought her in here myself, physically carried her. She's a bird, I thought. I will throw her into the sky and she will flap her broken wings. She will fall and fly, fall and fly, and eventually she will be okay and she will fly off into the clouds and she will build a nest in some tree and she will do the other things that birds like to do.

It's not really about food, they say. She feels inadequate. She feels out of control. She is lonely. She is depressed.

She's my daughter, I say.

Has there been trauma in her life? Has she been molested? Are you physically abusive? Do you have unrealistic expectations of her? Has someone close to her died?

These are the questions they ask of me and I cry because I am her father.

There has been trauma, I say. Somebody close to her has died.

It is common, they say. But don't worry. Girls and boys recover from this. Adults do. People in their forties. In their eighties. With family support, with medical attention, with psychotherapy people recover. And some of them die.

There is a payphone downstairs, outside the hospital where people smoke. I see people on payphones and I wonder who they are because nobody uses payphones anymore. I'm calling my other daughter who is overseas and I'm letting her know that her sister is lighter today. I'm using a payphone now because I have left my own phone at the cemetery. I didn't just leave it. I was angry and I threw it against a headstone and it shattered all across the face. And then I left it there in the dirt because I do not want to explain to people why my phone is shattered all across the face.

What can I do?

There is a young doctor in the room now. Your daughter will not survive, she says.

The other doctors, the nurses, they are not happy with this young doctor. But I can see it in their faces. They do not disagree.

Fathers carry their daughters, I say. I will hold my breath and I will swim to the bottom of the ocean. I will retrieve each grain of her and I will build with her, a sandcastle like when she was seven. A princess out of sand. And the wind and the waves, they will not dare to knock her down.


  1. Anonymous11:15 PM

    Fucking hell. I love this in so many ways.

  2. Benjamin, you are a pretty human being.

    This is wonderful.

  3. You keep writing amazing stories. I used technology to +1 this (that means I hated it, right?)

    1. Yes I think the + sign is short for "punch" so it is like you are punching this story in the face. Thanks a lot.


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