Faded

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His eyes were a deep brown, emphasised next to ivory skin. They were such beautiful eyes, deep set with specks of yellow and green in them. They had always held such depth and understanding, though now they were empty and bleak, almost making the exquisite colour of them look dull. Only the slighted trace of crow’s feet framed his eyes, and he still looked young. His appearance perceived many into believing he was many years younger than his 56 years. I used to tease him relentlessly about how he was older than all of my friends’ dad, and how soon enough he’d need Botox. He may have been older than other dads, but not old enough for this. Nobody was old enough for this. My eyes flickered to his still face. It matched his eyes perfectly. Empty.
The eyes were meant to be a window to your soul. Though I’m sure his soul had moved on weeks ago. That’s what Alzheimer’s was. It was like a blood sucking insect that was attacking you from the inside. It tore away your memory, then your capability, until it finally banished any trace of a soul from your body. I knew my father was an empty shell.
He had lost emotive expression, and now was only a ghost of the man he once was, with a gormless, lost look about him. This amazing, bright man who had had such passion, such a need to gain knowledge was lost somewhere in the darkness, replaced with a sterile clone. Though he was physically sat in front of me, I mourned the loss of the man I had grown up with. The man I should still be growing up with.
I had received the phone call while at school. The one saying that my father was going to die. It was in my lunch break of course. He never liked me missing any proper lessons. I had arrived at record time in ten minutes, courtesy of one of the lovely receptionists at our school, who had given me a lift. She left fine minutes ago with a sad smile and words of comfort, walking out of the door and back into her own untroubled life. Untroubled compared to mine. I turned around at the sound of a clearing throat behind me.
‘Do you want me to get you a cup of tea love?’ Jackie, my father’s nurse, asked warmly. She was such a kind woman, and I couldn’t be more grateful for her ever reassuring presence while my father had disintegrated. ‘Yes, tea would be lovely.’
With that she turned out of the room, leaving me with my dying father and a silence that was louder than a nuclear explosion. Taking a step forward towards the armchair he was sitting in, I crouched down beside my dad and took his hand. He didn’t even register this simplest of touches. The only thing that told me he was still alive was the was the steady heartbeat in his chest.
I then did the only thing I knew how to, I chatted. Mostly about trivial things, school, friends, how I was doing with my job at a local hairdressers. I knew I couldn’t get a reaction from his if I gouged his eyes out but I carried on, talking away.
Jackie was taking an awfully long time with the tea, and after five minutes I suddenly stopped talking. I felt almost silly for a moment. Conflicting feeling of self consciousness and fierce passion took over me and I put my head down, wanting to cry. I was too young for this, sixteen for C***** sake, still growing up.
I was startled by a sudden pressure in my hand and looked down to see my father’s wrinkled hand squeeze mine, using a strength I didn’t know he had. Looking back into his eyes I saw a spark of recognition, a beautiful, perfect moment of clarity.
For a long second he simply stared at me intensely. I was mesmerised. This was the best and worst moment of my life so far. Was this real? I had never been one to imagine things, although in this surreal moment I began to doubt my own mind. My heart was beating uncontrollably, almost as a reminder that this was actually happening. I could feel it rapidly moving against my chest and wondered if my father could feel his slowing.
Then, slowly, he opened his mouth as if he were about to say something. I held my breath, only to be met with more silence as he closed it again. I sighed heavily, almost relieved. I wasn’t sure I could handle him saying anything. Then the world seemed to stop again as he just... faded.
The clarity began to leave his eyes and his hand loosened around mine. The tightness of expression left his face as that too lost its awareness. The steady rise and fall of his chest slowed until finally it just stopped. Gave up like a stopped clock. Only my father could not be fixed by a new battery.
I let out a small gasp and turned towards the doorway, where Jackie was standing with two cups of tea in her hands. She blinked back tears.
‘He’s gone.’
I nodded.
‘Yeah.’
No words were exchanged after that. Jackie simply handed me my tea and re entered the kitchen, presumably to make a few phone calls. I had no idea what the standard procedure for dealing with dead bodies was, so all I did was sit there. Thoughts were blurring around in my head, taunting me, almost making me want to worry. I had nowhere to go now. Other than to follow some people in suits who were going to tell me where to live. I could see it then, I would become just another orphaned child. I chose not to think about that, I was tired.
I took a sip of my tea, now slightly cold, and grimaced at the sweetness. For a few moments, I didn’t want any sweetness or light. I just wanted to mourn and really feel the pain of his loss. It was funny how people reacted in different ways. In everything I had read about loss it had said to keep upbeat and distracted. Though the only way I thought I could achieve closure was to let myself truly feel for just a little while. The pain was like a thousand knives but I absorbed it. I don’t know why I was welcoming such feelings of despair and sadness, but I knew it wouldn’t last. Tears prickled in my eyes, I welcomed them...





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hannahtalksalot said...
Oct. 30, 2010 at 6:32 pm
this is really good! i felt like i actually experienced it too. really sad x
 
jessica182x replied...
Oct. 30, 2010 at 6:39 pm
thank you!
 
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