The Celebrant: This Was Us Pt.2

In case you missed it here is The Celebrant Pt. 1


In the dark I heard the shrieking wail of metal on metal. I felt the clacking thunder shudder my rib cage. The air smelled of sulfur,  pine pitch and summer sweat.  I gagged as blood and vomit expelled themselves from deep inside my gut.  I sat bolt upright in bed as the darkness of my dream dissipated in the comparative light of midnight. My fingers explored the heavy covers around me expecting to touch upchuck that would insist  some part of my dream had been true. Finding nothing I drank in the air through my runny nose. The sulfur and the pitch were well gone and all I could smell in the air was the lemon of furniture polish and the itchy fragrance of white linen treated with Clorox.

The dream had plagued me all my life. It came more frequently during my times of high nerve, which means it visited more as I advanced into my teen years. The nightmare paralleled two things:  my downward spiraling relationship with Adam and every outbreak of zits. The latter would have been natural enough, I suppose. I know of no teen-age boy whose vanity is unaffected by the plague of youth. All of us react differently. My brother,  Paul, shaved the zits off his face religiously and pushed it off to old razor blades. I dreamed of life’s train running me down in the dark, engineered by a father who refused to accept me.

The fact that Adam did not love me nor I him was absolutely not natural. I wanted to connect to him but just couldn’t. To say that  our relationship was unnatural is not to say that it was uncommon. I know I am one of many who have lost their dad’s long before they died.  The bogey man of alienation comes to us all; But the fact that so many of us allow the love that should be between a father and a son to be totally consumed by differences, that is unnatural.

I spent years wondering how Adam became the driving force behind my nightmare rather than my savior from the repetitive terror. I worked through a very complicated web of differences that played out between us: He was a conservative  business man.  I was a teen-aged socialist. He was a man’s man, an arm-chair quarterback, a died in the wool sportsman and I was what my brother liked to call a band fag. Add to that my penchant for calling out every little hypocrisy I saw in my father’s church and how could we not have been at odd’s. But after many years of searching I at last found the hinge that the door of our separation hung on. It lived  in my ten-year old memory. Oddly, it all came back to the Fruitlands where my mother told me her story of the night I was born.

“That whistle was blowing the night you were born Natty. It made me glad to know we weren’t alone. All I could think as I pushed you out was how here we were in the middle of nowhere and there not 300 yards away was a whole train load of people watching me give birth.”

Adam harumphed as she finished, “It just creeped me out.”

Like most walls ours was built on a foundation of agreement.

4 thoughts on “The Celebrant: This Was Us Pt.2

  1. I have so little time just now to write, read, and comment. But I am glad today has some free moments and I got to read both parts to this story. Love it! Can hardly wait for the next part.

  2. Pastor J, I know I have said this before but I just absolutely love your style of writing. I’m so glad your sharing your short stories with us.

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