Author: outsidersmonologues

Monologue #8 (2015)

A Tale of Our Own

I see myself in her eyes

I fit right in her arms

Our hands naturally interlock

Just the way our lips do.

My eyelids block everything and everyone

Her lips, my lips, our tongues are immersed in saliva

I inhale, she exhales.

Inhale, exhale.

The world is silenced around us.

I wonder if that’s because we’re beautiful together or out of shock.

Outsiders see us

I feel their stare as she’s

breathing down my neck

I don’t give a fuck.

 

But…I’m filled with fright, so I pull away.

Silence and secrecy have been the witness of our love.

No one can suspect what happens behind closed doors, closed blinds

Only the darkness kindly wraps us.

While I focus on her heavy breathing,

As I get warm,

My breathing weighs with pleasure,

Her moan is audible – breaking the silence.

And I rush to cover her sweet moans in fear we’ll be caught.

Oh! I wish I could tell you that our love is invincible!

That it has a fairytale ending.

But it’s not.

Because it’s not a fairytale, it is tangible, authentic, and currently in pursuit.

 

Monologue #7 (2015)

Understand.

I am brown,

product of a couple who spent their honeymoon swimming across a river to reach this promise land,

only to find themselves drowning in a language so different from their own.

I am American,

one who lived five years on American soil before learning her first word of English

only to then forget how to dream in her mother tongue.

Understand.

I come from a home where English was always left outside the door, next to my winter boots.

where I watched Cristina instead of Oprah

where my father pretends not to know English because he’s been made to feel

ashamed of his “accent”

where the skillet had a permanent place on the stove for the tortillas

where my childhood friends got pregnant by age fifteen and found kinship in the

streets instead of their own homes

where Christmas Eve was a bigger deal than Christmas day

where my mother had to stop taking English classes because they became too

expensive after my father lost his job

               Understand.

My admission counselor drew me in under the illusion that she had survived Davidson

as an inner-city brown body seeking acceptance into higher academia.

Her best piece of advice was not to come to Davidson expecting to find home.

I, too, would be disappointed, she said.

She was right.

I have not found home.

I live my days at Davidson in constant translation,

switching tongues like outfits.

hearing my name pronounced different ways,

one pronounced like my grandmother

the other like the first grade teacher who never thought to ask if she was saying it

right.

I thought my headaches were because of the schoolwork,

I realize now they’re related to the stress of my melanin,

of the constant need to be the bridge that teaches you about people like me.

I swim in a pool of self-directed anger

for finding myself afraid of being seen only with my brown friends

because then you’ll have an excuse to label me “self-segregated”

for finding myself afraid to call out the guy in blue shorts I saw the other day,

the one walking around in a sombrero and carrying a piñata.

who cares if it was only for big/little week?

does he realize my culture is more than Cinco-de-Drinko events?

does he know that looking away when I made eye contact doesn’t erase

my memory of his cultural appropriation?

does he even care?

                       Understand.

I am here feeling like your linguistic threat.

I am here working as an AT, teaching my mother tongue to people looking to build their resumes

while my mother learns English simply to be treated like a human being

I am here perfecting the mother tongue I was ashamed of speaking in the fourth grade.

I am here buying books off Amazon to teach myself the history of my people,

to properly correct you when you call me Mexican before American

I am here not to make white ears comfortable,

but to navigate my body in this white sea we call Davidson

                       Understand.

My parents do not speak of that honeymoon thirty three years ago.

My mother tells me I will never truly understand the value of an American passport,

because I’ve never gone without.

My father never taught me to swim,

perhaps because he never wanted me to know

                        what it felt like to cross the Rio Grande in search of a dream.

Monologue #6 (2015)

2010

Thanks for driving me all the way to summer camp and helping me move in.

I showed off that text you sent me out of no where. The one where you said you love me and the one where you called me sweetheart. (I ignored the urge to call you right away and decided to call you later)

My calls went to voicemail (later that day)

(I came back home in the middle of summer camp)

I saw a incredibly beautiful garden, but I wouldn’t want to go back to the funeral home.

So many friends came to visit you.

I’ve started my Junior year of high school and my principal took me aside.

Dad found a shirt of yours. I can hear cries from the bedroom.

A lady asked Mom how many children she had. Mom said one.

Mom’s birthday passed. I would’ve texted you a reminder.

It’s your 22nd birthday today. The happy birthday note I wrote you last year is still pinned up. One of the few things still on your walls.

I turn 16 this month. My birthday wish won’t come true.

I got my license! I had to stopped myself from reaching to my phone to tell you so.

My first Christmas without you. I told my friends I had allergies as I hid my red eyes.

 

2015

I just came back home from five months abroad. I wondered how much less worried I would have been about my Mom and Dad if my brother were home.

I looked through the cabinets in his room again, searching for a note explaining why he left. Maybe I missed it.

Maybe my brother had depression. I asked the counselor if depression is genetic.

I don’t show my parents my grades because I don’t want to explain I had been struggling with wanting to do what my brother has done. (Their grief with my brother is what stopped me)

Friends tell me they have so much work that they want to shoot themselves. I quietly asked them not to say that. Because I don’t want to imagine going to another funeral where the body has to wear a beanie.

(I can’t ever be too far from my phone. Because I don’t want to receive another last text at 10:26 AM and imagine what would have been different if I had called the minutes before 10:54 AM, when he clenched his fingers together into a fist around the metal and decided to leave)

It’s been almost five years, and there isn’t any “getting over it.” It’s learning how to live with it. It’s been almost five years, and the pain of losing my best friend is no less, if not more.

Monologue #5 (2015)

God, where are You?
In the midst of projects and papers and friend crises and trying to plan all my future I’ve felt lost lately. I can’t find You anywhere in all of this mess. Yet it appears as if I am doing everything right – I get good grades on exams, go to the gym, I say hello to people in the Union and ask them about their weekend. And I appear pious – I wear a cross necklace, I don’t drink, I do service, make good impressions..

But something in me feels dead. I feel like a zombie, a haunted spirit possessed by stress –

Some nights, when I walk back to my room, I realize my eyes are digging into a cell phone screen while the trees glimmer, the moon waxes and wanes, and I remain swallowed in my thoughts, oblivious to existence –

And when I crave silence, I ignore it. I schedule my days full to the maximum out of fear that I will be unproductive and waste them or become an invisible no-one –

And when I see the monotony of white-walled classrooms surrounding my four-squared mind, I run as far as I can to escape it –

Today, my Spanish professor told me,”It is difficult to be faithful here.” What does it even mean to be faithful at a place like Davidson? At a place where I feel pressured to be a walking intellect, plans for the future in hand, a supremely rational and scientific being? What am I supposed to be learning for, anyway?

God, I don’t think You made me for college. I just don’t fit here very well. I have to go to bed before midnight, I don’t have Netflix, yikyak or snapchat. I feel relentless guilt for having a $60,000 education that could send sixty Guatemalan children to school. And truth is, I don’t get what I am on earth for to begin with, why did You put us here in the first place?

All I want to know is that I am not alone in asking these questions. These searchings for reality, ultimate reality, the capital-t Truth of our existence.

Even if it’s taboo at Davidson, I want to talk to people about religion, like not in textbooks, but real mind-blowing faith that people bear at the core, a faith that means kneeling to pray five times a day, that means gathering for Shabbat dinners even when it doesn’t feel the same away from home, a faith that You exist, God, because you live in Spanish poetry and the face of the Commons staff and I sense that

You are here – somewhere, breaking through the cracks in the brick pathways, when I can’t grow thicker skin and everything feels like it is flooding in – You exist when nothing in the world, and especially not Davidson, seems to make sense

Please, God, don’t let it make sense.

Even if it means not fitting in at Davidson, I don’t want to lose this,
this inexplicable, mysterious, precious thread,
this rope of silence,
the struggle to make life meaningful,

This faith that You are speaking –
telling me to be quiet,
sit down, still,
and listen.

Monologue #3 (2015)

My entire life I’ve lived without boundaries. School came naturally, family life has carried no major difficulties, I have confidence in social situations, and my socio-economic background has opened the door very wide for any kind of life I want to live. At 20, I had plans to study abroad and go long distance backpacking in the summer. My expectations were enormous. So when my body became shackled in constant and crippling fatigue last year, I spiraled into hopelessness on multiple occasions. Saying to my mother what no parent wants to hear from their child, “well if my body continues to feel like this, I don’t really want to live”.

A year and a month ago my world was split open. I went from running 3-4 times a week, going out at night, and backpacking on the weekends to a spendng a full weekend in bed for no apparent reason. Feeling fatigue so intense that it sent me into a panic attack, thinking an organ was failing, having an ambulance called. Realizing later, that the fatigue was here to stay, becoming a part of me. Taking up long term residence in my body. Even today, after countless visits to many different doctors, no one is sure when my body will feel normal again. I have felt robbed of life.

There was a period where I would wake up every morning and expect to feel slightly better. I would go to bed every night and hope and plead that tomorrow was the day I would wake up and return to normal health. That this nightmare of drowsiness would end. That I could get back to living. That period ended maybe 7 months ago. It had to end. I couldn’t handle the overwhelming disappointment and frustration which was thrust upon me every time I awoke. My hopes were crushed every morning, over and over and over.

I wake up every morning exhausted, regardless of how much sleep I get. I move through the day without energy. My focus is blurry, comparable to when you don’t sleep at all the night before. Eyes heavy, and feeling like when you open your eyes in a pool. That achey stinging sensation in my eyes comes over me as the day progresses. My body feels weighted, sluggish. Every action requires desire, pushing my body have the energy to do everything so that I won’t do nothing. A disparity exists between what my mind wants and what my body feels able to do. This disconnect grinds inside me every day. All of my dreams and desires burn within me just as fiercely as when I was healthy, it seems impossible to satisfy them though. Each day, as I fight against the fatigue and try to reconcile this disconnect between my head and body, I am constantly aware that my struggle is non-existent to everyone else. It isn’t seen, it isn’t recognized, it surely isn’t understood by anyone but me.

Recently I wrote something that encapsulates my current desire,

When it is all said and done.

I want it to be said that I never accepted anything but full and complete agency. And that I lived a life where I continued to say, even in the darkness. But most importantly during the darkness,

I am yours truly,

Unbroken, inspired, and in awe.

Monologue #4 (2015)

When I was in college, I did not fit in. Unlike most of my college peers, I went to a really bad high school in a town where education was not valued very much. I was deficient in my study skills and I had undiagnosed dyslexia and ADD. It took me forever to do reading assignments. Everyone else seemed so smart and they got good grades with a fraction of the amount of effort I put in.

Now I am a faculty member at Davidson and I am still an outsider. I have expressed my opinion and been chastised for it. I have been told repeatedly about faculty who dislike me. I have been called names by other faculty to the point that I have withdrawn from most social gatherings. At times I feel very lonely on this campus. Luckily, the students and staff are more supportive so I enjoy my job despite feeling ostracized by my peers.

I share my story because I don’t want students to think that all faculty have figured out how to fit in. You are not alone in feeling alone. However, it may be that trying to fit in with your peers is the wrong goal. Find another group of people who can accept you for who you are. Don’t ever apologize for being honest about who you are. I am not willing to stifle my opinion for the sake of being accepted by my peers.

Monologue #2 (2015)

I said my worst fear was invisibility. People laughed.

It’s a moment when you’re thinking too deep, too far, and you hear voices like a buzz and actions like some dramatic slow-motion action scene, so that even the act of passing over a pen is given a surreal significance. It’s a moment when your body slows, freezes, and you can’t control a thing. It’s a moment when whatever tethers you to the ‘here’ and ‘now’ that everyone else experiences lapses, when you find yourself on a different plane on a different space looking at your friends as if they’re aliens even though you know its you. It’s when their eyes trace over you without acknowledging that anything is wrong at all.

And then it snaps back, you snap back.

And it feels like that time you dove down to touch the floor of the pool and rose up gasping from the water, lungs burning, panic rising, and you sucked in air that was sweet despite the sharp taste of chlorine. So you sit there, trying not to panic at what was probably nothing. It has to, just has to, be nothing. Because it can’t be that thing again.

I can’t be invisible again.

I said my worst fear was invisibility. People laughed.

 

I said my worst fear was invisibility. People laughed.

It’s a mental glimpse back over a shoulder, a reassessment of myself after someone asks ‘are you okay?’. Am I OK? Am I smiling right, is my face lined up in the way that everyone else’s face is? Am I happy today?

It’s a setting of limits. I can only swim in the 5’ section of my mind, and no further down. I can’t think about death or injustice or the fact that people die for no reason—no, I can’t think it. I have set aside certain memories that are shut to me. I can’t remember what happened that summer that my boyfriend and I broke up. I can’t remember the details of my freshman spring. It’s not a lock, it’s a wall, a barrier, a ‘DANGER’ sign and a thousand strands of barbed wire. I can’t think about the fact that I can’t remember.

It’s the knowledge that I can turn invisible at any moment. I could break the boundaries I put on myself, I could think too deep and too sadly, I could stumble across that scarred border and grasp things I shouldn’t. It could happen at any time. At any minute, any second, I could fade into the background of a conversation. I could feel that thing that tethers me slipping. I could fall, cartwheeling, panicking, into the hideous depths of my mind.

It’s the knowledge that if I do, people’s eyes will slide over me like I exist in a different plane. That even when I grab someone’s shoulders and yank them towards me, beg them to see me, their eyes will look away. I’ll tell myself I’m invisible because I don’t want to think that they choose not to see my sadness.

I said my worst fear is invisibility. People laughed.

 

Monologue #1 (2015)

I’m one of “those” kids whose tuition bill comes to $50,000 a year, and Mom & Dad simply write the check.

My family’s financial status and stability grant me a level of privilege, opportunity & freedom that I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand.

So what could I possibly have to be ungrateful for? I do not know the burden of debt or that of financial ruin. I don’t know what it’s like to work your way through college or to send money home to keep your family afloat.

My dad’s job keeps my family afloat. I laugh at the irony of that sentence.

You see, sometimes I imagine a butcher’s table in the office of financial services. And in order to finalize the tuition check, someone has to be sacrificed… I’m almost four years into this ritual and I’m still not sure whether it’s my dad lying on the block or if I am the real sacrifice. Has he sacrificed himself for my family’s financial stability, my education, our social status? Or is our story more like Abraham and Isaac’s but God didn’t intervene… has my dad placed my family upon the altar for his own gain?

He’s a nice businessman. Most of the time he is in another city. Gaining status with his airline carrier and hotel business. Who knew there was a level above Platinum? He has a major corporation to run, and he does it well.

But even when he’s home, in his favorite chair, he’s not with us. He is entrenched but also enthroned in his own stress and rage and work. My dear mother has been the slain lamb before the king far too many times. Mom vowed in sickness and in health, did she know that would include in wrath and excuses, too? I have learned that one needs not bear a knife to cut the heart; no threatening bullet to make you question your very worth. The tongue is a weapon—and though it can sing praise in Sunday morning church, it can lash utter destruction over Sunday brunch. The nice businessman I love has also ushered in the deepest pain of my life.

Thoughts of home carry that eerie resonance of the organ for me. I tremble at the memory of shouts, yells, and rage. I can hear the echoing silence of my dad’s absence… the times when “work stuff” came before mom’s grief… when our picture-perfect family in public came home to screams, slammed doors and isolated tears.  Our hymn is painful.

I have experienced great financial privilege. I have also experienced great familial pain. And I don’t want to use the phrase “cost of privilege” here because I didn’t write this to make light of my privilege. I write it to speak truth to my pain.

I am that kid you talk about: the rich one. My parents paid for my Davidson education. The sacrifice has been offered and accepted. So why am I so ashamed, and why do I feel so desperate for redemption?

Monologue #1 (performance piece)

What does your Mom do?
It’s harder to see what we have than what we don’t have. Sometimes everything we see appears permanent, ever-lasting, and normal. But normal is tricky. Normal is relative. Example: having both parents alive. This is normal for most college students, but for us it’s just a memory.
Questions, questions, questions. What is your major? Are you seeing anyone? What are you going to do after graduation? As college students we all dread these questions, maybe because we feel insecure with our answers, maybe because they make us feel uncomfortable.
Does your Dad have a job?
It is strange when one dreads questions that one knows the answer to. Even more ironic when dreads a question precisely because of the answer. These questions appear harmless and normal to most people, but not to us.
How old are your parents?
Take for example this last question. Ask it to most people and they will answer it, maybe with the help of a calculator, but still with relative ease. Why? Because most people know how old their parents are and they are willing to share this information. What if, say, your parents were to have no more birthdays? If their age was static, a number printed on a paper stored somewhere? How would you answer that question?
It’s not easy for people with dead parents to be understood by those who enjoy better luck. No one is guilty, yet the gap between the two groups remains palpable. These are some accounts of what it feels like to be different from most students on campus.
—————————————————–
ned:
People Make Assumptions.
Actual conversation with the man who organizes the composites for Warner:
“Would you like to order prints?”
“How much do they cost? I thought they came in the mail?”
“We’re trying to go green. Why don’t you call your Mom and ask her. We’ll be here until 9pm so let me know by then. I’m sure she’ll want your pictures for graduation.”
Thought: I doubt it.
Actual response: “Okay I’ll come back by 9 if she’s interested.”
———————————-

Patrick:
My father was extremely ill last semester. Family, ranking way higher than schoolwork on my priorities, pulled me home.
I stayed with him until his last breath, besides his bed, besides my mom and my brother.
No one in my family had died before. Everyone was always in their respective places at our table when we sat down for dinner on Christmas’ or New Year’s Eve. Even my four grandparents, with seven or more decades and patches of wisdom hair, were there to talk to.
No wonder why the death of my dad has been so hard to digest. Without any previous experience with death, I struggle to come to terms with it on a daily basis. The problem is that I am reminded every single day of the void in my life, of his absence. My life is no longer the same and I shiver whenever I think about this.
Fathers are everywhere. In parks, shopping at supermarkets, at the movies and even in the movies. Whenever I see a dad, my mind rushes to acknowledge that I don’t have that anymore. No more bike trips to the mountains, no more words of consolation, no more hugs when I go back home. I know that he will not be at my graduation ceremony. I know that he will not tell his grandchildren about his adventures as a teenager. I know my mom sleeps alone tonight on a King-size bed. And it’s not easy when all these thoughts come barging into my head while I’m trying to write a paper on the religious aspects of the crusades.
I remember when I came back to Davidson in January. Three months had slipped by since I had last seen any of my friends or hall mates, yet it seemed much more distant. Although I didn’t expect everyone to know about my dad’s death, dealing with the issue was a stab to my guts, especially when faced with one question:
How is your dad doing?
The day I got back I bumped into one of my teachers.
“How is your dad doing?” he asked.
Sigh. With my gaze cutting the ground, I replied “He passed away two months ago,” not believing myself as the words sparked out of my mouth.
“Nobody told us about that! I’m really sorry for your loss. How are you doing? How is your mom doing?”
What answer could I assign to this question so that the hurting would be less, so that the pain would be short? “I guess given the circumstances, we are doing alright,” I replied. And I have kept saying that every time someone asks.
“Ok, ok. Well, it’s good to have you back!” Then he kept walking and I kept walking.
Imagine having this same conversation over and over again, at commons, at the union, in the hallways. Every time I saw someone, they hugged me, told me how much they had missed me and then came the how is your dad doing. This was my welcome back. The first weeks were awful, but there was this one moment that I can recall above all others.
I was walking by my dorm’s lounge and a lot of people were gathered. Some of them I had not yet seen, so they shout out enthusiastically as I appeared. Then and there, with most of my hall mates present, how is your dad doing knocked on the door. Silence. I dropped the bomb. Silence, Everyone looked down.
“But I’m glad to be back,” I muttered, trying to ease everyone and leading the discussion to other topics. People don’t know how to answer to that. I wouldn’t expect them to, but that is the way it is. I avoid talking about him to most people, just because I want to avoid making them feel uncomfortable. Its quite sad.
Complaining about essays, tests, schoolwork, commons food, the weather…it all seems too strange. We forget, we take for granted, we run around, we feel secure, we don’t stop to thank and think that those tightly tied to us will transition too.
His name was, is and will forever be Rodrigo. Repeat once more, Rodrigo. That way you won’t forget my dad and you won’t forget that he died. And maybe you won’t forget that your dad will die if he hasn’t already, and your mom too, and you too and so will everyone else you know, or might know, or won’t ever know.
Most of my days seem unreal. I wake up, but it doesn’t feel like it. Trapped in this reality, I live in a recurring dream, a nightmare that comes back every day, and every night, and confuses my North. If you see me running in circles around Patterson Court, dizzy and nauseated, now you know why.
I often dream that he is alive. Sick, but still alive. In the dream I know he will die, as I do in real life, but I can at least see him and imagine that he won’t. Now I can’t. There is no escape. No escaping the pain. And I guess no escaping death.
————————————————————-
jenny:
I once overheard someone saying:

“I did what any college student would do in a bad situation: I called my parents”

Well, I don’t really have that convenience.

Who do I call if I don’t have parents anymore?
Do I call my depressed sister who doesn’t answer my messages?
Do I call my sick brother, who I don’t want to bother any more than I have to?
Do I call my aunt, my godmother with mental issues, who lied and convinced my extended family that my brother raped me? Do I call these people who betrayed and excommunicated me?

I don’t have anyone to call.
I don’t have a shoulder to cry on.
And I hate how I am irrationally angry that anyone does.

So,
Sometimes I’m sad.
I’m not sure if people realize it, though.
Why would they, if I constantly say “I’m good” when I’m not.

I’m tired of lying.

But I can’t just drop this dead parents bomb on any acquaintance in the hallway who asks me what’s up.
How could anyone respond to that news? What do you say to that?
Their blank stares and words of discomfort just sting the wound I opened for them to see.

“You’re so strong”

Thanks for that encouragement- but I’m tired of hearing it.
It’s stated as if I had the option not to be.
Please, someone, give me the choice to fall apart.
I’m so tired of being strong.

…I’ll make do.

Sometimes I bring myself back to the times when my mom would pick me up and hold me.
In the squeaky, comfy, rocking chair of our past
She would rock me back and forth,
And pet my head.

Since then our roles have switched around.
Like in that book “I’ll love you forever.”
I was there to calm her as she suffered
As she was frail and afraid,
And I was there to hold her hand and pet her head.
She and my dad.
Both slowly and torturously dying from different diseases.
Me, young, trying to comfort them
Trying to care for them.
Begging for them to be at peace.

Isn’t it weird when the happy ending you pray for is your parents’ death?
—————————————–
garry:
There are times throughout my day—maybe when I hear a friend complaining about her overbearing parents or when I see a little girl reach for her dad’s hand as she crosses the street—when my mind goes blank, and there is only one thing I can think about. One thing, one phrase, one moment, that has begun to define my existence. I prayed that my dad would die. Now don’t get me wrong—I prayed day after day for a miracle. I cried and I begged God to save him. To give us more time. But then I gave up. I sat outside his door, eyes drained of their tears, and pleaded that God would end his pain.
…He was gone within hours.
It was my oldest brother’s, birthday—January 21, 2003—when our dad was diagnosed with cancer. At nine years old, I separated the word cancer from the hideous term that so many around me seemed to be tiptoeing around. Terminal disease. My dad protected me from the realities of what he was facing.
He didn’t tell me the symptoms—the symptoms that would expose themselves in the most painful of ways over the next 8 years. Bone pain. Bone fractures. Broken ribs. Thirst. Nausea. Loss of appetite. Mental Confusion. Infection. Weight loss. Weakness. Exhaustion.
He didn’t tell me the process—the bouts of chemotherapy, the cocktail of drugs, the hair loss, the stem cell transplants.
He didn’t tell me how long—he didn’t tell me that the life expectancy for someone with Multiple Myeloma was around three years. That less than 10% of patients make it ten years.
His death was a process. He fought with every ounce of his being for eight years and, on a quiet day in April of 2011, that moment came—the turning point. If you have every watched someone die you know exactly the millisecond that I am talking about. There is no way to prepare yourself for the moment that the sparkle goes out of those big green eyes you’ve found comfort in for so long, leaving behind heavy, pain filled eyes seemingly detached from the strong soul they once displayed.
I saw the pain in his eyes. I watched as the life slowly left them. So I prayed. I prayed that God would put those empty eyes to rest. I prayed that He would give my father the strength to let go—the strength to, for the first time in his life, be weak.
This story I am trying to tell is not about deatth—it’s about life. We live in a world where death is something we fear. We spend our lives trying to postpone it. We cut out sugar, hoping that it may add a year onto our life or take an inch off our waste band. We avoid adventure because we alarmed when “injury or death” jumps out at us on a liability waiver. We question those who try to experience life fully, labeling them as “reckless” or “irresponsible.” We tiptoe around death—and, and when we think we see a glimpse of it, we close our eyes tightly, looking for every possible way around it.
My brothers and I spent a week together in my dad’s apartment searching for a miracle. When one never came, we felt like we were giving up—but it was quite the opposite. We learned that we had to let our dad go, because in trying to postpone his death any longer, we would be compromising the quality of his life. That week we learned not to fear death, but to fear not living. For eight years, our dad protected us from the realities of what he was facing because when he was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, he chose not to let the disease control him—he chose to live.
Our days to make an impact on those around us are limited. In that last week together, my brothers and I learned that we must live our lives in such a way so that when our children are surrounding us in our final hours, they can find the courage the let us go—and that courage can only come from the knowledge of the fulfilled life we have led.
Sometimes my mind goes blank, and there is only one thing I can think about. I prayed that my dad would die. That phrase—that moment—reminds me to live.
————————————————-
Patricia:
“I won’t die, don’t worry, we can beat this.” I believed you. I thought we would make it. I held the day, the moment, that you would go into remission in my mind as a reminder that you, that we, would be okay. But sometimes life doesn’t give us happy endings. Sometimes happy is ripped from our hands at 3:36 am as you watch the woman who taught you how to dance, how to love, and how to laugh slip away. Not that it was all in that moment. I watched you slip for days. I watched as you faded from the beautiful, vivacious mother who held my life together to a distant form, a shadow, a corpse.
“I hate to be the one to tell you this, but your dad passed away this morning.” I didn’t get to hold your hand. I didn’t get to feel your last breath. I wasn’t there. It wasn’t real. Is it real yet? A month later and I still wait for your calls. I got a job offer yesterday, daddy. My first thought was that I couldn’t wait to tell you. I can’t wrap my head around you being gone. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t add up. You were my rock, my shield, my biggest supporter. What now?
“No, I’m okay. I don’t need anything.” That’s not true. I need my parents. I need my mom to hold me, to tell me she loves me, to grab me and twirl me around the kitchen one more time, two more times, one hundred more times. I need my dad to send that “Good Morning” message, to call 10 times a day so that I’ll answer just once, to call me his little girl, his precious, one more time, two more times, one hundred more times. I need to understand. I need to see evidence of a greater plan. But you, you can’t help me. So I smile, so I say that I’m doing alright, I guess. I pretend not to feel alone in a room with one, with two, with one hundred.

Monologue #2

I am a WASP, which makes me the (new?) outsider on the block.
Hegemony, crumbling into pieces as strong, diverse women stand tall,
Yet I am a weak white female and patriarchic promises penetrate my being.
Body broken by perfectionist, obsessive, engrained lies of the corporeal caste.
So thin my hair falls and slithers down the drain,
Or so full of self-loathing my body bloated and bruised by masochistic defiance of reality.
Hiding inside my skeleton on the peripheral peak,
Just outside the lines, the map, the charted track laid out.
No longer waiting to be pulled in,
Just on the outside, living, breathing, praising the Lord God who made me.
For we are all His children between heaven and earth,
And perhaps this liminal temporality is bliss.