For my uncle
The golden room was quiet. The apartment whirred with anticipation. How could one be so selfish, so cruel? People talked behind the family’s back about the incident, but they knew the truth. Life was cruel, not him. Life was harsh and selfish, not him. They didn’t know. No one knows how to communicate until it is too late, but they knew, if the ritual worked, things would be different. & they waited for the right day.
Some say that the dead would return if you prayed hard enough. Some said if you sprinkled holy water at the scene they would awaken. The miracle was embrace. That’s all we ever wanted, that’s all we could afford. When he took his life—they waited for weeks before they prayed. They weren’t sure if they wanted a funeral or just to wait. It was all thin and too soon and sad. But something had to be done before the time left them. They wanted to make sure he was resurrected during an important holiday. They wanted to rearrange his life, if he came back—they wanted to make him truly happy. They wanted the soccer games to bring joy. They wanted debts to be gone. They wanted him sober & proud. They wanted him to be a good father. That’s what they wanted, anyway. They waited for the sun to be out. They waited for a cool night. They wanted the perfect conditions. They figured after he died, he wanted to rest. He was tired. No one should be afraid of the darkness, but one must embrace the light and take their time finding the proper amount. They wanted him to understand he was still loved wherever he was. They wanted him to know no one forgot. They wanted him to take his time coming back, because when he did, if he did, if he wanted to, they would make sure nothing else would harm him or the family. Life would be different. Each darkness would be another homecoming of new light. They would focus on where there was tension. They wanted him to love his wife and his son and his godson. They wanted him to try. What was darkness, but a shadow and a weak little thing when the light was calm in the heart. & so they prayed & so they sprinkled holy water & so they waited & waited & waited. Faith. That’s what they called it. Faith & every soft embrace was reason to never give up & they waited. & they waited. & they would always wait for healing, like that, like this.
Shawn Anto is 23 years old from Bakersfield, California. He’s originally from Kerala, India. He currently studies at Cal State Bakersfield looking to receive his B.A. in English & Theatre. His writing has been featured in Orpheus literary journal & Ink & Voices.