Exhausted from all the emotions of discoveries, Mary dreams of her father
Conversation with my Father
All the emotions . . . all the sadness, all the joy wrapped in an hour of discovery has drained me of my energy. Clutching all the materials to my chest, I lay there on the dusty floor in a fetal position.
Ma, what happened to you here the last time? What have you discovered that made you change? Why all the forgiveness to all those who trespassed against you? Why do you want me to do the same?
I close my tired and teary eyes. I feel the hairs on my neck prick, not from fear, but in feeling my father’s presence. I feel the movement of his spirit that hovered this house for years . . . and maybe even now. I feel him all around me, his love, his happiness, his sadness, his troubles.
I fall into a slumber.
I thought I heard, on the wind, strange sounds up ahead. And then suddenly, the earth below me seems to vibrate. Then a hum emanating from the mountain sounds like the drone of a million bees. I stare at the mountain. She is filled with awe and a sense of mystery. It has a presence, a spirit. And thoughts of what has haunted me in my dreams grip me with a sudden sense of urgency. Pinatubo breathes all around me. I feel its energy; almost as if a living thing is talking to me, waiting for me to deliver myself into her heart.
I don’t know where I am. I feel lost. I see me creeping slowly in the dark, feeling my way along the walls of the mountain where my father had taken me many times in my youth. I cautiously put one foot in front of the other. I have no idea that darkness could be so absolute. I've never seen darkness as deep, as formidable as this, although I've heard my father say that I had the eyes of a cat when it came to seeing in the dark. As I make my way through the blackness, I stretch my eyes wide, as if doing so would help me see.
And there he is, glowing in the dark. I stare at his face . . . at the high cheekbones and full mouth, and the stray curl from his unkempt hair that caressed his forehead. Wait a minute. But it’s Lou Diamond Phillips’ face I see. What is this actor doing in my dream?
"Because you’ve always said to everyone that he looks like me," my father says to me. "By the way, if you suspect that he's also my son, he’s not. I wish he were, though."
My father making a joke now? I can’t believe it. He sounds like he did when he was alive and young.
“Pa, I need to talk to you about Ma.”
"Actually, I think Benjamin Bratt looks more like me . . . minus a foot and two inches."
“How do you even know about Benjamin Bratt? Forget that. Really, Pa, I need to talk to you about Ma.”
"Not now, Mary. You will have your answers soon."
“But I have a lot of questions for you now.”
He smiles wide, nodding his head up and down as if in agreement or approval of something. "Later," he says.
And I watch my father walk away, and eventually, he blends into the night.
I swallow back my sadness and say a silent farewell to him.
I feel myself being jolted awake. I open my eyes and I see Johnny tugging at my foot. “Wake up, sleepy head,”
I shake my head to clear it of its daydreams. “You’re back,” I say.
He helps me up on my feet. I grasp on my stuff tighter so I won’t spill any of it.
“How can you even fall asleep in this mess,” he asks. “You look like you’ve been crying. Your eyes look bloody.”
I brush the dusts off my clothing and don’t say anything.
“Well, I understand,” Johnny continues. “We all cried when we saw this place for the first time. What’s all that you’re gripping with your life?”
I ponder his question for a moment, then with a smile, I say dreamily: “Wonderful things about being my mother’s daughter.”
(End of Chapter Sixteen)
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