Ring. Ring. Ring.
“The person you have dialed is unable to receive calls at this time,” said an automated voice.
I slammed the phone and redialed the number. It seemed as if the world was working to torment me with every task at hand.
Laughing, I thought about the rollercoaster I call life. Please pick up, I thought. Nothing mattered but the voice on the other end of the line -- it seemed to be coming from the other side of the earth. As the phone rang endlessly, a student worker approached me and smiled a crooked smile. I was not in the mood to smile.
“May I help you?” she asked.
I stared daggers at her—I guess she got the hint as she spun on her heels. If I wanted help I would ask for it.
“Hello,” a voice finally answered.
“It’s me,” I said.
“Your father died...” said my mother. “But the doctors brought him back; he’s not breathing on his own. He has a machine keeping him alive. He’ll be fine, Darren, we have to pray.”
“Okay,” I said in an empty voice.
Pray? To whom should I be praying —God? He does not exist for me. I have never felt his presence. For all I know he could be a fictitious character created by a crafted writer. I can’t rely on an invisible man for all the answers, at least not yet. I hung up the phone and I walked away. I felt numb and empty. This feeling was all too familiar to me when I rid myself of emotions.
It helps me to temporarily escape—even permanently at times. Escape into a world where nothing matters, and each reaction is either forced or controlled. As I walked from the university complex, I realized that I felt nothing and that angered me more than it had before.
Still, I did not show it—it wasn’t me. I wore a mask of indifference. He’s your father, I thought.
Saying that hit me. The mask had cracked, revealing old scars and new bruises.
The mixture of emotions came flooding in, and it hurt more than I could possibly say. I thought this feeling would forever be foreign to me. I felt broken, lost, sad, deeply depressed, and oddly in the mood for mischief. I wanted to hurt myself, but I knew what my father would say: Never let someone have that power over you, not even me.
My throat tightened and my eyes began to water but I could not cry, at least not on the surface. Instead of crying I began laughing to myself, not at the situation at hand, but at my inability at times to express my inner feelings. I laugh in order to hide my real feelings—just like my father.