Invocation (03.22.2022)

2 min readMar 29, 2024

Did you pray when Jenny was sick?” I asked Ana, years later.

We were in our bright, sunny kitchen. Standing next to the kitchen sink, through the silk curtain hanging on the side, I could see Jenny on the couch — Her legs perched on the corners. She was annoying her little sister by pulling on her pigtails. Yet, I could hear them laughing through the process.

Ana looked at me as if I had asked her if she practiced voodoo, or cut a chicken to drip blood at an altar.

“Um — I prayed as I did but nothing specifically. Did you?”

My house cleaning ritual when I was stressed out, my silence when I stopped talking for hours, my heading out to go to the gym just so I could be somewhere else for a minute, my incessant pleading — it had been quiet, private. I never said a word about it to Ana.

What else was there to do? To talk about?

Beyond the MRI appointments, the Colonoscopy results, the second opinions, the research on the Internet, the experts — what else was there to do but say please?

“Yes,” I said. “I prayed.”

“Did it help?”

The question stopped me.

Did it help. The fact is, I couldn’t not pray. I didn’t break it down, or intellectualize it. I suppose it made me feel like I was doing everything I possibly could and this was just another tool that I couldn’t not use. Especially with a higher power — Even though it was just a theory, a concept, an ephemeral entity.

That’s what my obsessive silence or counting backward was all about. It didn’t cross my mind to call a priest, or to seek spiritual guidance of any kind.

Please heal my child.

I just wanted to be sure to be heard, just in the unlikely event that anyone was listening. I did not want to take any chances — in case there was some exchange mechanism that existed in this universe — That I would take on what she had if she was healed by that.

It might also have been why I would cup my hands on top of Jenny’s head as she slept — I wanted to will the firestorm inside her colon to subside.

Did it help? — I had no verifiable answer.

“It certainly didn’t hurt,” I said.




Life is represented by two distinct sets of people: The people who live it and the people who observe them. These are their stories.