I posted a question on my Facebook page last week. I asked if there’d been anything in your life that was painful or sad that you now see as a gift? Below is something that got posted under that question on my Facebook. I had to reach out and ask if I could publish it here at The Manifest-Station. Wow.
Blue Interior. By Suzanne Rolph-McFalls
My father was murdered in his hotel room when I was 19. He had left his second wife and was staying in a nearby hotel, a known chain. His car broke down and he called me for help, a ride, a taxiing around for a few hours.
I had a new, blue car with new blue crushed velour interior, and my first car payment. As I drove my father to the places he needed to go to pick up car parts and liquor, it began to rain. A cold, March in the Midwest rain. He wore a light jacket that day, and I could see him shiver as he worked furiously under the hood of his car while I sat, cozy warm, inside my blue car with the blue crushed velour interior.
He got so cold he opened the passenger side door and asked if I minded if he got in for a minute.
No, Dad! Get in! I said.
But as he pulled the door shut the grease on his hands got on the blue crushed velour of my new blue car door.
And I yelled at him.
Dad! You got grease on my door! Look what you did!
He looked. Then, he looked at me and said he was sorry, and then he said, “I’ll just get out.” And he did.
The car repair was unsuccessful and he asked if I’d I’d drive him back to the hotel.
~Can we stop at White Castle, honey, I think I am hungry.
Back at the hotel I let him out in front and he hugged me, carefully, so no more grease got anywhere. He gathers his bags of sliders and unused car parts and liquor, and he looks lonely and forlorn and cold and old, and he was a terribly flawed sometimes terribly abusive sometimes terribly alcoholic Dad who I loved, still love, with all my heart, and instead of taking him home with me, or staying for a White Castle, or even just a longer hug, I drove away.
In my new blue car with blue crushed velour interior.
I wouldn’t know until early the next morning, when my step mother called to tell us, that my father died a few hours after I left him standing cold, wet, and alone in front of a popular hotel chain.
A few hours after I begrudged him warmth and shelter from the storm, out of a need to protect my new blue car with blue crushed velour interior.
I had always been a kind and generous person, but that day I let my anger over Dad’s new wife new baby new family old wounds old mistreatments, make me small. Petty. Value a thing over a person.
That day, that horrible rotten day, someone horribly rotten broke into my father’s room and beat him in the head and face until he died. Then they ripped the ring us kids had given him as a gift, back when we were a family, off his finger in a bloody skinned tear; and then they robbed his wallet of all those hundred dollar bills he loved to flash.
On that day I became a thing forged in grief and steel.
Never, ever, EVER, would I place greater importance on a thing, any THING, than I did a living being.
I would never cease offering shelter from storms.
I would always share warmth.
I would always hug longer.
I have an adorable oyster white Lexus SUV with buff leather seats, now.
But, whether they know me well enough to know it or not, when people ride with me, anywhere we’re headed, we’re really in blue Oldsmobile with blue crushed velour interior.
Contact Suzanne Rolph-McFalls:
Find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/suzanne.rolphmcfalls and
I am a writer. I have a deep and abiding love affair with books, with reading, and with the written word, most recently those of my grandson, who tends to spell things so purely gorgeous I cry on regular basis. A few days ago he wrote me a note and told me I was “byootful.” I had never felt more beautiful in my entire life, because I knew he was seeing inside, to whatever good stuff is in there. I wanted to wear that note as a sign, since 8 year olds are fantastic judges of character, and seers of bullshit. I practice yoga and Buddhism, and try every single day to alleviate suffering in the world while creating and inspiring joy, and, hopefully, inspiring others to do the same. I studied Fiction Writing at California State University, Dominguez Hills , MA, and before that, I studied English, Literature, and Language/Fiction Writing at Northern Kentucky University, BA. I am married to Michael McFalls, President of S&M Custom Painting Services, Inc. Our 20th Anniversary is Halloween 2013.