The Party Hat Parable This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

September 23, 2009
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The boy knelt there holding his brother’s hand. He could not hold back his tears that poured out and erupted with devastation as his younger brother lied on a bed in a small box-shaped room of a hospital. Their eyes met and their hands were locked. This was his brother. His blood. His family. He would give up everything to see his brother live another day. The Earth was still and silent and all he could hear was “What’s the matter big bro?”.

Ryan was only seventeen. He was a handsome young man with plenty of fun-loving friends whom he spent the majority of his time with. His grades were exceptional and he was the leading advocate in more school clubs and activities than any of his classmates could remember. His most known accomplishment was his position as the star goalie on the hockey team. Not on the best team, but still the best player. All and all, he was a good kid. He knew right from wrong and his mother taught him to be a true gentleman. He was greatly looked up to by his little brother, Dell. However, Dell had a severe case of Down-syndrome with the personality of a nine year old. An unfortunate addition to that were his unpredictable seizures that shook him almost weekly. He was only fifteen, short and tubby, held his head slightly to the side, and waddled rather than walked. Dell loved his family. He had quite a few friends on his street, and then a few at school who would talk to him and even ask for him hang out with them sometimes. When they asked, he would waddle up to his mother who was either cooking over the stove with her white and red poka-dotted apron on, or outside tending to her garden that outlined their house. Then, Dell would tap her shoulder and ask his “Ma” if she felt it was okay for him to play with his new best buddies. If she said no, he didn’t argue, because he felt his mother’s feelings were his main concern. Ryan, on the other hand, would beg until his mother said yes. Almost every other day, he was either going to a friend’s house or to a hockey game with a group. Ryan actually spent more time with his friends than his own family.

As spring came around, their mother remained out side tending to her garden most of the time. The house was at the end of a cul-de-sac surrounded by blooming trees that only added to the beautiful color of the neighborhood. It was a small one story house with a front door that could hardly open, but it was still home. Mother tried to keep it beautiful, and that is exactly what she was occupied with that unforgettable day. One Saturday, Ryan was planning to go to a party with a bunch of his friends from school. It was nothing fantastic, but it would be a memorable time. Ryan’s mother would rather him spend time outside on the beautiful day when the sun was out just right to show all the color of the Earth. Dell heard about the party and wanted to meet new friends. He asked his older brother if he could tag along. Ryan loved his little brother, but having him around was slightly annoying and sometimes embarrassing. Plus, he didn’t like the possibility of a random seizure. “No buddy, not this time. Maybe next time.” Of course he had been repeating this answer for the past month. As Ryan drove off, his little brother watched his car turn to the right at the end of the street, as the sound of his engine died away into the distance. “Dell sweetie, come help your Ma!” his mother asked sweetly. She knew he was disappointed. She turned around and continued to trim that tiny bush that always gave her trouble. Only a few seconds went by and her instincts prompted her to turn back to Dell. As she was about to call him again she caught him lying in the grass in a violent spasm.

His Mother rushed to him, slipping on the wet grass as her son began to shake even worse. This brutal attack was the worst seizure he had ever suffered. His mother’s heart began to race and beat like a drum through her neck and chest. Then, Dell went limp. His body then seemed to flatten into the grass. The heartbroken mother shrieked as tears instantly poured out from her eyes. She picked him up as if he was only three and carried him to the car. She laid him in the back seat, then seated herself in the front. She pulled out as soon as the engine ignited. She called Ryan’s cell phone “Ryan! Dell’s having a seizure and this one is bad. Really bad! I’m taking him to the hospital. Meet me there.”

Ryan immediately hung up and turned his car around. He broke the speed limit by over twenty miles per hour. Then, he saw red and blue lights behind him. He had been clocked and they were after him. He was contemplating whether to pull over when he then realized that the officer could give him an escort, which he did. Ryan took a slight thrill as he blazed through traffic behind the officer’s car. When he arrived at the hospital, he parked as close as he could to the building and burst through the doors. “I need to see Dell Davidson!”. The lady at the counter saw his distress and told him where the most recent patient was taken. He rushed through the door only to be shoved back outside by doctors. He saw Dell jump into the air as they shocked him, trying to get his heart going again. Nothing happened. The doctors then looked at each other. The screen showed a flat line. Ryan knew what that meant. He flew past them and grabbed Dell’s cold hand and held it to his cheek as he knelt to the ground. “I’m so sorry little brother! I should have let you come. I’m so sorry! You can play with me any time you want! I promise! I’ll be your best friend forever!” His tears began to fall rapidly from his eyes. The room went silent. As Ryan opened his eyes, they caught Dell’s. Their eyes were locked. Ryan’s eyes could not produce enough tears to show his grief, but when he saw Dell look at him Ryan could not hold them back. He heard Dell’s voice “What’s the matter big bro?”. Ryan paused then muttered “Everything is going to be okay buddy.” His tears fogged his vision. “Can I come to the party?” Dell’s words echoed through his head. Ryan rubbed his eyes and saw Dell’s pale face. His eyes were closed. “Yes Dell. You can come”.

Three days later Dell Davidson’s funeral was held at a small church. The people there cried, but instead of black dresses and flowers. They came with party hats and gifts.

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Zero_K This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 6, 2009 at 1:35 pm
Awwww. . .this is so cute and heart-wrenching, and though I am Wiccan, it still touched my heart. The last paragraoh threw me off a little though. It's simplicity somehow made it even better. I loved it.
-Blessed Be!
Second2Him replied...
Oct. 6, 2009 at 2:02 pm
YAY! Thanks! That means alot! i'm glad you like it! The end has to do with Dell's last "party" and it kinda touches on celebration of life rather than mourning of death.
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