The Soft Parade (Monologue chapter 5)
Of course I love you. I’ll always love you. Why shouldn’t I?
You’re my angel.
And…no, some angels aren’t perfect, but that doesn’t make them less precious. I wish I had words to tell you this, but I want you to know it isn’t your fault. None of this… nothing that’s happened is your fault. Some things happen, despite our good intentions, hopes or…prayers.
Sometimes, people don’t love enough to listen because…they don’t want to be rescued.
Your mother mentioned you’ve been plucking hair from your head and leaving it in your books for angels to weave into wings. Baby, angels don’t need your hair to form their wings, they’re born with them.
You don’t need pain to be happy.
It’s time to be a child again, not an adult. It’s time to be happy and play and smile.
You know…if I could have any daughter, it would be you. Only you.
And I love you with or without wings.
But…you need to stop torturing yourself. Because it’s...torturing me, not to mention what it’s done to your mother.
You remember the book I gave you? With the torn pages? It was about a steam engine and, in the middle of the book, the engine ran wild down the street and frightened an elderly woman. Do you remember when I explained why the pages were torn? I thought the old woman was a spirit rising from the pavement to attack the steam engine and I tore pieces from the bottom of the page so she’d have nothing to stand on…then she’d fall from the book and the engine would be safe. Remember? As a three-year-old, it made perfect sense. As a man, as someone older, I understand perspective. Now she’s an older woman fleeing in the foreground, not a devil rising from the underground.
I don’t know if you’ll understand this, but maybe your Dad comes to you in dreams, not to frighten you, but to love you and to say goodbye. You didn’t know him as well as you should. I wish you had. He’d be proud of you, probably as much as I am now. Maybe the reason I love you so much is to-I don’t know-make up for all the love he should have shown you and never did.
When Daddy comes back, tell him hello, tell him you love him-and miss him-and…tell him goodbye. I believe he’ll hug you, kiss you and wish you the best. Ok?
Your mother…asked a favor of me. It might be a good idea, but I'd like to know what you think.
Maybe you and your Mom should come live with me for awhile. Until…the fear passes.
Would you like that?
I understand you’re tired and it must be difficult at times to carry the burden of several people besides yourself, but I want you to know how much Yasmine and I cherish you and appreciate everything you’ve done for us.
She adores you and I adore you…
And I’m not ashamed to admit that I love you.
I want you to know I sent a letter to your mother to-try to communicate with her-after, all this silence. I’m not certain if Bobby ever spoke to her about us. He never mentioned his family to us, no brothers or sisters or father, cousins, aunts, uncles, nothing. And he only mentioned his Mom very briefly. I only learned she was alive after he died, when I found her post office box. So I didn’t have anything to measure his words against, when we met. I believed him, or at least, my heart did.
But now I trust what you haven’t said more than anything he ever told me.
I wanted to tell your mother that Bobby and I…didn’t work out, that we’d been divorced a year. And I told her how wonderful it was to have you here to help. I told her how good you’d been to us…how loving and kind and good.
I didn’t know if I would ever here from her, but today there was a note.
I had no idea you were married to my son, although I suspected he might be married to someone. We’ve been estranged for a very long time, and I haven’t spoken to him for at least a year.
It’s good you’ve been able to put your life back together, but I’m not…certain…I’m ready to meet either you or your daughter…just yet.
The note felt so …surreal, so distant, as if she were a mourner at a stranger’s funeral. She sounded as if Bobby were some misbehaving animal she’d brushed up against. I felt so sad for Bobby just then, because she told me he was always lost in fantasy and never listened and ‘embarrassed her.’ And it was so hard to be sympathetic because I felt something just as ugly brush up against me.
I believe my son was mad, and I’m disturbed that anyone would insinuate I had anything to do with his abnormality.
His dreams had teeth.
Perhaps it was one of his friends you met that was so kind to you. Not all of them lived in his head, you know. In any case, you must be mistaken.
Bobby didn’t have any brothers.
I love you, Lee, and I’ve trusted you with my life and the life of my daughter for more than a year, now. So I need to know…who are you? Really?
Because…I might be pregnant.