I guess if you’re the one being written about? But, what if you’re not living? Should writers sensor what they write to spare family members hurt or embarassment? Here’s an excerpt of my new Short Story “The Atheist That He Was”. WARNING! Strong language….. but heart felt in the end :).
“The Atheist That He Was”
Maybe my father was right, the atheist that he was. How he cursed my mother who wailed about the importance of my sister and I receiving the sacraments of holy communion and confirmation. How he always yelled “They don’t need that shit! It’s not gonna do them any good. Every damn religion is just a bunch of bullshit liars and hyprocrits. There all gonna kill each other off anyway!” Standing there staring at her with a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other, pacing back and forth.
At 10 years old you just don’t understand these angry discussions. It seemed like daddy was always causing havoc. And why did he have to get so angry with Momma? She was just trying to do something good. Outside, barefoot, perched up my favorite tree, in between the branches I could see them through the kitchen window. Waiting for momma to just walk off and ignore daddy or for him to just get tired of yelling. Just waiting….. “What are you doing up there little girl!? Startled I look down. “I’m hugging the tree and looking at the moon” I said nervously. A brief pause, “Alright”, he moaned. What do you know about the moon? You don’t know nothing little girl. When you grow up you’ll understand”. He walked back inside and let the screen door slam and bounce a few times, 1, 2, 3…. til it closed completely.
Daddy used every chance he had to prove his point to momma. Especially times, when the daily newspaper printed priests as pedophiles or money scandals in the church. “You see!” He’d yell. “They’re just people Sandy! Like all the rest of us. And, all their doing is taking your damn money!”
In times of trouble, Daddy did one of two things. In the mornings, he would just sit silent. Staring straight, sometimes closing his eyes and the crease between his brow would deepen as he buried and rubbed his forehead. We knew better than to walk into the room. My sister and I would walk all the way around the house just to avoid him. At night, hard liquor helped to release the tension and for sure we dared not enter the room.
When Daddy was on his deathbed, he made me, the most spiritual and open-minded of all my siblings promise that I would not let my mom bring a priest to give him last rights. I promised him and asked mom to please respect his wishes. Two days later, right before daddy was about to pass, my sister brought a Rabbi to bless my dad. Furious, I yelled “What the hell are you doing. Daddy didn’t want his last rights read to him!” And she blurted back “ He said not to bring a Priest, he didn’t say nothin about a Rabbi”. I said “Okay”. But it’s gonna be you that he haunts, cause daddy hated the Jewish religion more than the Catholics.
As I grew into adulthood, I struggled a lot with Religion and trying to find my spiritual path. The voice of my dad rang true, not just in the Catholic religion, but as I soon learned in all religions. And, as I sit in front of my bedroom altar meditating, I hold a rosary in one hand, a crystal in the other. And in front of me, my altar is adorned with pictures of loved ones, crucifixes, A Buddha, the Virgin Mary, the star of David, pyramids and my beautiful moon. I pray today and always for peace and unity and that my father’s premonition doesn’t come to fruition.