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  • Writer's pictureAdam Pridgen

The Binds of Space

When the news broke that the world was endin my lil heart was happy. I had only been twelve years ole, but I knews what death was and I knews what it felt like; a lack of warmth I would describe it as. It felt like the cool Busch beers I use to grabs out the fridge for my daddy when he was watchin his Indiana Pacers play. When my hands touched the moist green glass housing the angry juice as my momma used to call it as an inside joke that only me and her shared, a chill always ran up my spine. It was close to the same chill I felt when her boney hands gripped my arm for the last time. As my momma’s face turned blue on her deathbed and her body broke from its desert fever to an arctic cold she said to me faintly, “Don’t ever let him put you down.” My daddy didn’t like her last words not one bit; he gave her one last slap, but she was too weak to even do anythang bouts it. I cried and sobbed and cried sumh more, and daddy didn’t like this either. He gave me a good right hook to my face, adding to the multiple bruises I had already sustained that damn week. Ever since that day, I stopped crying, not out of fear but necessity. I wanted to honnah my momma’s wish, even though I felt like I was stuck, stuck in owes shitty trailer that had rats and roaches crawling and shittin over the carpet. But when that so-called exit came, oh was I beyond joy.

“Boah get me a beer right now before eyes pop you,” was the 10th time my father had repeated that there statement on the last night on Earth. I was lookin out my grime covered window in my bedroom towards the night sky when my father had commanded me. The stars were shining like crystal brights in the ocean and there was a full moon that seemed to bring out the crazy in everyone, myself included. I had always been an admirer of space, it was an escape hatch for me. My daddy could beat me all he wanted too, force them tears out of me, and berate my dead momma all he wanted too, but I knew, somewherh out in the great beyon, he couldn’t get to me. I thought the asteroid would make sure of that. I sorta thought about it like the rapture in ther bible. Jesuh Christ comes down from heaven to Earth and bring his followers back to heaven with him. And I thought on this night, the floating massive rock would come down in a mighty fashion that would uplift all the saved to God's kingdom, at least that’s what Reveren Pridgen preached to me and my daddy for three Sunday’s straight after the news broke. Rev sobbed when he talked about it, all of us dyin. The congregation cried too. But me and my daddy neva spoke of it to each other. Until that last night.

“Boah, don’t make me say it again.” My daddy never had to tell me twice to go grab his drink, but tonight I was in a trance.

“Sorry suh,” I said as I walked into owes tiny hallway. All I could see was his shiny bald black head as he sat in his lazy chair, rocking back and forth as reruns of old NBA games played on owes t.v. My daddy loved him sum basketball, and he was damn good at it. He played two years at Indiana state and he could have gone pro afterwards, but he broke his ankle while diving on the ground for a loose ball. I think that was the day he died inside. Obviously, I wasn’t alives at that time, but he always said while watching them games, “if I was out there my Pacers would not be loosen.” That’s all he evea had to look forward to. His games and his Busch beer. Not my momma or me… But anywho, we had no clocks in owes trailer, but for each rock he did a second or two past. A second closer to death. I knew my daddy was scared because he was drinkin more than usual for them three weeks. And as a man you ain’t supposed to be scared. I was a boy, I was supposed to be the scared one. I think he envied me for that. I think he felt less like a man, and he would do whateva it took to regain that manliness, regardless if it killed me or not.

But anywho I hustled into our kitchin like hows a deer runs when a hunter misses his shot. Owes kitchin was clouded with old outdated newspapers on owes dirt smothered counters. Opening the fridge, we was low on stock. There was a half eaten ham and cheese sandwich covered in ants, an onion, sweet tea, and of course, beer. But that was the norm, I always went to bed with a growling stomach after my momma died. Momma threw down in the kitchen. But anywho, there was only one Busch beer left. I thought at first that this was a good thang because the angry juice had made him, well, angry, hu-huh. But in the same thot, I realized that when my daddy went without the angry juice, he was evens more evil. So to me all he could be was mean, with the juice or without it. But anywho, I walks over to my daddy and I faces him from his side. His eyes are still soaking into the television, watching Shaq dunk on one of the Indiana players. I know he sees me, but he ain’t giving two shits about me. So I says, “daddy I got your beer.” And he says without looking at me,

“I hate that motherfucker Shaq. We woulda had won us a championship if it wasn’t for him.”

I didn’t care at this point to appease my daddy. He was too set in his ways. So all I says was, “I don’t think we woulda have won the finals daddy. Kobe and Shaq were just too good.”

After I says that I was expecting ah hit right at my rack. But all he did was just nod his head, and looks at me. He says “Your probably right boah, we had a pretty shitty team that year.” And then he chuckled. “Hand me my beer,” he says. I hands him the beer and he took it. His hands was trembling and shaking from all the years of Busch beers he put into himself. More than usual on that night. Maybe because of nerves. I don’t know. Either way, I felt a lil sorry for my daddy, I won’t lie. So then I asks him

“Daddy, do you need some help opening it?” He looks at me again. He gives me a look that reads yes. I says no more and I take his bottle opena and popped the sucka right open. I was bout to hand the drink back over to him. But I looks at his white t shirt. It was covered in beer stains. My daddy was stubborn to the end, yes suh he was. I felt even more sorry for him. So without his permissions, I fed him the beer. I didn’t means to make him upset, truly I was just tryna make his last night not as shitty. But I guess I made him feel like a lil child, because boy did he get mad. He slapped the beer outta my hand and it broke right next to my feets. A few shards cut at my ankles. Luckily I had shoes on, well I always had shoes on in owes trailer. Fleas couldn’t get in my feets when I wore them. But anywho, he sprang off his reclina and shoved me to the ground. Good times don’t last foevah, they do not at alls. My daddy shook his hands in a balled up fist and he looked as angry as the Devil himself. And perusal, I was prepared for a beatin. But for sumh reason, and to this day, I stills do not know why, but his jerkin fist, reminded me of the asteroid. And my face was the Earth. The Earth that was abouta be destroyed, huh-huh-huh. Maybe the joke came to mind because I had nothing else to lose. So before his fist could even come close to hittins me I says, “Daddy your fist is the asteroid, and I’ms the Earth.

My daddy’s hands still shook but his body began to as well. He let out a few gafts, a few huh-huhs but nothin of a boy you must be Dave Chapelle types of laugh. But then he started cryin, and it was the first time I eva seen him do such a thang. He didn’t at my mothers funeral, and he never did when she was dying either. So to see him shed a few tears, I knews that his heart musta been aching. He tried to wipe them away, but I pressed him about it. “Daddy what’s wrong?” And my young ole brain only knew that I was supposed to be beat, when I deserves it. So I says, “Daddy aren’t you supposed to beat me? Beat me and bruise me up like how the cratered moon is because of all the rocks that has hit it before in the past?” Again I loved space when I was a youngin, still do. But anywho, he unwrapped his fist and fell to his knees. He put his hands on his dirty ole jeans and shook his head rights at me. And he says,

“Son, you’re too pure for this world. I nevah deserved you or your momma.” I wanted to hug my daddy when he said that, but truth be told I didn’t believe him. I thought I was still gonna gets a hook to the face, so all I says was

“Daddy it’s okay.” Then he shakes his head and says

“It’s nevah gonna be okay boah. We abouta die, and there’s nothin I can do to take back all the pain I done caused you and your momma.”

The pathetic look on his face made a slick of belief cross my mind, and I thoughts that maybe my daddy was repentin of his sins right before the clock was striking twelve. Reveren Pridgen did say that “if you repent from your wicked ways, then you’ll be saved forevah! Praise the lord, hallelujah!” So I says softly, “Daddy, me you and mommy gonna be upa there in space, we gonna be floating among the stars, and there will be no more pain.”

My daddy shook his head once again and looker me right in my eyes. I saw a broken man, one that was already put down. Six feet down to be exacts. He couldn’t hurt me no more. He says, “I ain’t gonna be a part of that boah. You and your momma will but not me.” My daddy gave me a big pat on the shoulda and then he hugged me. To be honest I was scared that he was gonna he was gonna squeeze me to death, huh-huh. But after a good few seconds or so he let me go and he got up off his knees and put on his corduroy jacket. I got up off the floor and walks over to him, and I asks, “Daddy where you goin?”

And he opens the door and the moonlight glows on his face. His tears shinin on his black face in the black night. He says, “I’m gonna apologize to your momma at the cemetery.” I nevah liked bein around my daddy, but I says

“Lemme go withs you.” My father quickly says,

“No. I done already poured my heart into you, I got nothin else to say. He limped on his bad ankle out the door and a step or two down the porch before he paused and turned around and said the final thang eva to me. He says, “Float high boah, float high up in there in outa space.” He looked up at the stars, got into his old ford truck and drove off from owes trailer park. And as you know, the Earth neva ended that night. The asteroid neva came close to hitting us. But my daddy neva came back. I don’t know if he eva changed his ways or just died a drunken ole pitiful man. Only God got him now. Only the stars I been gazing up to for the past eighty years done got him now.

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