Hasking and other Reflections on Fatherhood
© 2012 by James Wiebe
All rights reserved
A Crying Man in the Parking Lot
The man in the parking lot of the movie theater is sitting in the driver’s seat of a red Acura, and he is heaving and sobbing and shaking in a way that expresses the deepest kind of Pain. His torso is curled forward, and his head is down, almost between his legs, From the crooked angle of his body, he is seeing just the bottom of the steering wheel, and the dirty carpet.
He had made it from the front door of the theater across the parking lot, to the car, making small talk with his wife about the movie they had just seen, but grieving over what he had felt. Before the movie had started, they had discussed taking in two movies in one evening: back to back, a rare treat for this couple. But that idea had died, in fact it had been killed, while they were walking out of the Cineplex.
(They had been in The Balcony, mind you, to the right of the main entrance. Stadium love seating with Restaurant service, to your seat, while watching the movie. Dolby and THX sound.)
He had made it to the door of the car. He had been able to unlock the car. He had been able to sit down. He had been able to place the key into the ignition, and even to turn it. He noted that the car had started.
But then, as the motor started and idled, muscles in his face began to contract, short tight ones, along the sides of the jaw. Other muscles in his gut turned to knotted cords of tension. They were very tight, and then they were even tighter. Liquid flowed out of his nose, but oddly, very few drops from his eyes.
His larynx tightened as well – breathing turning to a heaving or a hasking; and his eyeballs were pushed by the blood pressure of the emotion to the front of his eyelids. In the midst of his enormous pain, he wondered if the eyes could be damaged by so much tight heaving, hasking, pushing, sobbing, hasking.
The wife of the man was making a heathery crying of her own, just like the animal mother of a severely wounded cub – why is the cub so hurt? – will the cub stop hurting? – What can I do? – How can I soothe? – What light sounds can be made that will ease the pain? Can I stroke your back? – Her hand gently and very carefully moved up and down his arm and shoulder, and just across the top of his back, and then back down. Sending a signal through his hurt, that love was there, it was very much there!, and that it was waiting for him to come back out, and that love was there.