I re-read the above entry, fully sober now, and I discovered two things, one more disturbing than the other. The first is that what Father Joseph told me is the same thing he told me ever since, which almost leads me to believe that he has practiced a kind of script, although it is, dare I say, improvised. Different semantics, or grammar, or structure, but invariably including God, faith, and understanding or lack thereof. I don’t blame him, I suppose, how could I? I blame myself, why should I want understanding in the first place? He might very well be right. I’ve conceded it before. What happened cannot be understood. Not by me, not by anyone but God. At times, I wonder how even He can understand, and I know that I should never question His power, however inadvertently, but….
I recall now the second point, the disturbing discovery. While praying after my confession, to demonstrate my regret, my slur on the word love was more than that. It was much more. Thinking about it, writing about it, makes my hand, my whole body, tremble, but I think…I don’t know if I can love Him more than her. I don’t think I can. I don’t think I could. I love her, Marianna, more than myself, more than the world. There is no space or structure greater than my love for my daughter. I don’t think I could ever ask forgiveness for this. I don’t think I want to. More evidence that my soul has flown into the sun.
After I had said my prayer of apology, Father Joseph did not give me absolution….
I found some loose notes that I will transcribe here: What is it? An echoless void sustained by the constant ululations of its multitudinous occupants, row upon row of ethereal cribs containing the crooning and cooing of toothless creatures unfamiliar with the teat, waiting for the holy water to splash against their gummy skulls lest they stay on the fringe for time untold, or simply the infinity stretched feeling of an impulse without a mother, an instinct forever insatiable?
It’s not that I blame Him for what happened. It’s that the world ended for me, yet it continues to spin. It ended for her before the light of morning. I no longer believe in purgatory, or the unfinality of death. I no longer believe in the church, or the trinity, whose head is that of God, the unseeable animal.
George Salis received a B.A. in English and Psychology from Stetson University. He has won awards for his fiction and journalism. His fiction is featured or forthcoming in The Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle, CultureCult Magazine, Crab Fat Magazine, and MUSH/MUM. He has taught in Bulgaria and recently finished writing his first novel.