Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Lost Words

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
The funeral parlor was dimly lit and filled with the obnoxious scents of flowers and embalming treatments. I was wearing an old suit that Sally had forced me into, with a faded checkered tie. I told myself determinedly that I would do this, but I my confidence was dropping with every step I took to the Viewing Room. When we stood in the doorway, Sally, my wife, clutching my arm with a sense of false aristocracy. I realized the coffin was open. Any sense of bravado instantly left me.
"I have to go," I croaked, soft enough so only she could hear. I barely caught a glimpse of the mingled look of concern and disapproval on her face before I left. Back out in the car, I leaned against the cold window, the guilt overwhelming. I thought to myself, coward...pathetic, but a memory overpowered them.

The last time I saw Sally's father, Jim, he was in the hospital, his health deteriorating quickly. The doctors told my wife, the only member of his family still living, that he was drawing his final breaths. She convinced me to come and see him, and after observing a conversation she had with a nurse on the elevator, I was furious.
"What do you mean he refuses medication?" I demanded in hushed tones as we walked down the white hallway.
"He's ready to go, and he doesn't want to survive on medicine for a year or two more," she told me calmly.
I was shocked, "Sally, that's suicide!" I exclaimed.
"John, don't be ridiculous," she said, about to say more, but we had reached the room. "Hi Dad," she greeted him with a smile.
I nodded, "Jim," I said stonily. I paused and watched my wife for a few moments, as she talked with him, but I would not ignore the topic that was hovering over me. "So, Jim," I began. "What's this I hear about you not taking medicine?" Sally widened her eyes and shook her head in warning, but Jim didn't seem to notice.
He simply shrugged, "I think that this old body has gone through enough and more."
"So you're giving up?" I asked with a trace of disbelief.
He shook his head firmly, "Not giving up, just accepting that it's my time to go."
"But it doesn't have to be your time! Modern medicine can ensure that!" I said with incredulously. He only responded with a shrug. "You're just being stubborn! Why not admit you can be cured with help? You're choosing to leave your daughter behind in death? How much of a fool can you be to give up, because that's exactly what you're doing!" My voice had risen to a yell, and Sally looked shocked.
Jim gazed at me with a touch of pride in his eyes. "I will not be spoken to like that," he replied softly. "Maybe you should go." And I did, retreating to the parking lot where Sally soon followed, refusing to speak to me.

A phone call had come the next day announcing that Jim had passed away. Sally didn't talk about what I privately referred to as the hospital incident, but I couldn't forget it. Though Jim's death hadn't been my fault at all, I wished I could have erased what may have been the last conversation he had.




Join the Discussion


This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

projectwarbird said...
Feb. 8, 2011 at 10:46 pm:

It's good, I think that if the whole &quote thing wasn't there it would flow better but that's not your fault. It was quite gripping and it left me thinking about things that I've said that I wish I could've taken back. Of course I've had the chance to rectify it but still it makes you think.

I did notice a few grammar issuses but those are trivial (as are my spelling mistakes) they can quickly be fixed. 

Overall, good job! I think you can go somewhere with your writing... (more »)

 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Topaz97 said...
Feb. 8, 2011 at 9:23 pm:
Please post feedback! :)
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback