Juan Luis Guzmán
Blood Meditations III
Excerpts from an essay
When I’m alone, I open Tinder and swipe through profiles of men to distract myself. I am a good son. I have conversations, flirt, send pics from the bathroom of the hospital. I am a good, good son. I match with a twenty-eight-year-old resident, Dr. Mario, and make plans to meet him at the hotel like a good son.
The room is a double, the only one available. It’s is on the base floor of one of the hotel towers and the wall-to-wall glass door faces the swimming pool where two older couples lounge and drink. I shut the blackout curtains. Too dark. Instead, I close the sheer shade to give us a little privacy and wait. Less than a mile away, my dad remains in critical condition.
This essay begins with a photograph: my father holding me as a boy. He does not know the eye of the lens is on him. He stares into my face, smiling. I finally see what I look like in another man’s arms. Not visible in the photograph: the blood that will eventually fail him. This essay begins in a voting booth. Blinded by a procedure on his eyes, my father receives special permission for me to enter and mark his ballot for him. This is the year that Proposition 8, a measure that would ban same-sex marriage in California, is on the ballot. He asks me to vote yes, tells me he is against gay marriage. I do as he asks, filling in the circle until it resembles a dark drop of blood. This essay begins the first time someone asks me are you a boy or a girl? This essay begins again every time someone shouts maricón! from an open window.
When I open the door to Dr. Mario, he is much taller than I expected him to be.