Beth, the third birthright of Albert, stands in front of his grave ten years after she had helped the groundsmen put him there. This is the first time she has been here since. She lives in California, all the way across their world growing up. Growing up, they didn't have the money to travel, so the entire world became America, and the west coast was the end of existence. Albert was more than just her father, he was something of a hero to her. Beth had uncontrollable asthma. Everything seemed to aggravate her breathing. He was always right there with the right inhaler or would quickly find a source of steam. She had suspected that he had saved her life more than 1,000 times.
When she got the call from Bill, her brother, she fell down. He continued to speak and yet she didn't hear anything but her own horrible shrieks of grief, then her quickened breathing and tight airway. She grabbed her inhaler and used it twice. The rescue inhaler helped to get the longer term medicine into the deeper areas of her lungs. She breathed, then sprayed, they tried to breathe again. She decided that the tightness in her chest wasn't her lungs...it was her heart.
Most of her siblings didn't like Albert very much. Beth understood why. He hadn't been there for them. He worked all the time and didn't attend many of their activities, even if he was home that day. But he was always there with an inhaler. Always.
"So why is this the first time I have visited his grave?" she asks. Because she wasn't angry with him. The rest of her siblings hated him for reasons that were not even his fault. Reasons like their teenage pregnancy or inability to keep a job. They projected these things to her, but she wasn't the one that got hurt...not by him. He was the only person she had ever counted on. He was the only one she knew would be there. Sarah, her mother, was always in a different place. She wasn't a real mother. So Sarah got the panic attacks. Albert was there with an inhaler.
Right now Sarah stands at the wooden box that holds her wax father. Tim, a strange person that says he's her brother, wails in the front of the room. Sarah stands next to his bed and smiles as she hugs distant relatives. One right after another. Beth remains seated on the front row, waiting for the funeral to start so that it can end. She wants to go home and never see these people again. She didn't hate her family. She was just her daddy's girl.
Thanks for reading...Z