Thursday, January 15, 2015

Finding myself now in his place is a humbling surprise. I know I deserve it

At my age I should expect nothing but respect. But when my own son walks away from me, my resolve immediately falters. To spite me, he smiles flirtatiously at Abishag, my lovely new concubine, till she tightens her robe around her waist and turns her head away, hiding her blush from him, and perhaps from me, too. Then with a youthful vigor, Adoniah bangs the heavy iron door deliberately behind him, which makes Goliath’s sword clang against the wall, right here over my head. 
The rattle shocks me into trying to overcome the fright, the sudden quaking of my bones. 
I adore my son, which lures me into seeing myself—my own image, only more invincible—in him. So what if he is rebellious? I must have been the same way at his age. Back then, did I not leave my father, exchanging the safety of his home for something unknown, for adventure? Did I not defy his charge for me to remain there, in Hebron, and support him in his time of need? 
Never before have I considered how the old man must have felt, left behind in fragile health, in a crumbling house, with not one of us children staying there to keep him company—no one but loneliness. 
Her face still rosy with a sense of embarrassment, Abishag wipes the little smile from her lips and curtseys before me. She is obedient, perhaps even fearful of me. Plumping herself on my blankets, she goes back to holding the inkwell for me. 
I dip the tip of my feather in it, glancing at the veins marbling my thinning, nearly transparent skin. Is this my hand? Why is it trembling so? It seems to be my father’s, and so does my voice, when I utter the words as I scribble them, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away, through my groaning all day long. For day and night, your hand was heavy on me. My strength was sapped, as in the heat of summer.

My father is gone. Finding myself now in his place is a humbling surprise. I know I deserve it.



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