Almost a Miracle
I need to explain to you how it happened.
I know you don’t require it, but I need to tell you,
much as a good Catholic needs absolution from her priest or her god,
I need absolution from you.
It began with a simple mishap—the gas left on after cleaning the stove.
I do not remember this action,
yet it must have been me who left the dial turned not quite shut.
A dark part of me, because with God as my witness, I do not remember doing so.
I did remember that every payday Saturday night when he came home reeling from the tavern, he went to turn on the striker to light his cigar.
If I had actually planned it, I could not have planned it better.
My mother and the other children had gone to Talpa
for the four day pilgrimage to the virgin
and it was my night to stay with the children
of the people whose house I cleaned.
We did this weekly to afford them the chance
to be together with their friends,
away from their demanding children.
And it gave me an opportunity to avoid my father.
To avoid the sound of his entrance at the front gate,
the heavy pounding of his boots upon the cobbles,
the creak of the front door and his slipping the bolt
so that I knew once again that I was in the prison of his making.
His footsteps upon the tile stairs as I lay still, my lips moving in rapid prayers,
“Our Lord, dear lord, help him pass my door tonight.
Help him to proceed past the doors of my sisters and my brothers
and let him move to visit my mother.
Help him to relieve the cares of his week in her presence.
Help it to be his wife who smells the tequila of his breath,
to taste the lime on his lips.
Help me on this night not to be the partner of his sin.”
Rare was the Saturday night when my prayer was heard.
But this night, perhaps I had answered my own prayer.
Later on, the villagers would talk about the night they heard the boom—
saw the streaking image of a man run from the front door aflame
to run down the street screaming.
“Such a tragedy,” they would say,
“but how fortunate that his wife and children were not present.
God must have been watching,” they would say,
“but then to have blinked a moment.
It was almost a miracle,” they would say. “Almost.”
The NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a dramatic monologue.