Trust Me

“Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain. Isn’t that what I always tell you, boy?”          
My tongue may as well have been embalmed for it laid flat on the floor of my mouth. I nod instead. Dad and I are at his office in all its sterile, white glory. I’ve been here before many times, seeing what dad did, learning the trade, however this time…this time it felt wrong.          
It was difficult to see him underneath the layers of his surgical garb. The most I could see were calm blues resting in the chasm between his surgical hat and his mask. Perhaps it was best to see him this way. I can pretend he’s someone else who just happened to share the same eyes. A stranger in dad face.          
“You trust me, right?” Dad asks. In truth I’m afraid of what would happen if I say no. So again I nod; a life-sized bobblehead, pull me back and watch me agree. I swear I hear his smile from behind the mask and the distance between us. “Good. It’s so hard to trust people Bobby. I think that’s what my father was trying to teach me growing up. You have to trust people though at some point, otherwise humanity ceases to be. You have to have trust to build relationships.”          
He pulls on his gloves with a dramatic snap that rang out like a bullwhip. This was his signal that he was ready to precede. It happened to be my signal to get his instruments as well.
Drill.
Bone saw.
Scalpel.
…Hatchet.          
Dad gladly accepts each one, and as he does the dread in my belly begins to kick, ready to be birthed into the world. This feels so wrong now. I don’t want to question him, but my mind strays to the other times we’d done this. All my life I wanted to be like dear old dad, the healer. Now I’m not sure that’s what I want, or if I ever did.          
Dad picks up and studies the serrated edge of the bone saw, running his finger over the jagged teeth. “Textbooks tell us the brain is in the skull, but how do we truly know?”          
“We open it.” The words come out of my mouth like a stray bullet. Bile wriggles its way up my throat on spiny tentacles.          
“Exactly.” Dad makes his way to the patient who is paralyzed in her seat. There’s enough drugs in her to make sure she won’t feel what’s about to come. “So what do we do when we can’t trust someone?”          
“Open them up.” I hate my tongue.         
  “Good. So you understand why I have to do this? You understand that if I trusted her, this wouldn’t be happening? I have to see if her brain is where it should be. See why she betrayed my trust. So I can understand. It’s science, son.”          
I nod. Since the day I saw the medical transcript crumpled in the trash with the terrible words, big and bold, stating I was not my father’s son I knew this day was coming. And although I knew…I still wasn’t prepared for it. I feel ill.          
“Do you trust me?” Those chilled blue eyes turn my insides to sludge.          
“Yes.”          
“Good.”          
Dad puts down the bone saw in favor of the drill which whirs to life with a shrill shriek. A tear rolls down from the eyes of the patient as that is all she can manage with the cocktail of drugs coursing through her. She wouldn’t feel anything externally. Internally though…          
“I hope he finds what’s wrong with you mom,” I whisper through a windpipe clogged with emotion. “He’ll make you better. Trust me.”

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