A Grief Drunk Pack O' Dogs

3:12pm: His hands… they were so cold. And the whole time I wasn’t so sure about it but when he touched me… and the cold coursed through me I thought, “I gotta get out of here.” I stood up to go and he kind of slumped pathetically down on his right side and smiled… and laughed. It was this raspy sort of laugh that you probably normally wouldn’t identify as a noise a human could make. So I just stood there, looking at him and wondering when it got this bad. And wondering why I didn’t stop it from getting that bad.
I really should have helped, but the situation was just so… creepy. His laughter, getting louder, bouncing it’s way across the floors and walls and cutting it’s way down my ear canal. But, for the life of me, I couldn’t leave. I couldn’t stay either, I couldn’t move period.
So I stood there, looking at him. Opening and closing my mouth like a goldfish in a glass fish bowl, forming words to say but then thinking better of them. I waited for the laughter to die and it felt like ages before it finally did, and even more time before he finally spoke.
It pierced the air like hundreds of rusty daggers, “You don’t gotta stay here with your old drunk of a father,” His voice cracked violently and threatened to crumble completely, “You don’t gotta stay.” And then his head fell and he dryly and drunkenly sobbed for a while.
And did I comfort the poor man? Did I run up and hug him and tell him I love him? Did I even tell him everything would be okay? Even if I knew it never would be. No. I stood there. Mouth fish like once again. And when his sobs turned to gasps and desperate chokes and he looked up at me, his eyes swollen with pleading fear and tears, and I choked too. And I ran, all the way home, all the way across town until I threw myself upon my lawn and gasped for air, as I’m sure he was doing right at that very moment.
And I felt him die, I really did. I felt that bungee that had always connected us, I felt it snap. Well, not so much snapped as writhed and faded and slithered and bubbled away. I felt him die, I did, right before I fell into what felt like hours of dreamless sleep.
6:46pm: I woke to the shaking of my shoulders and hot tears splashing and rolling off my forehead. It was Susan, my little sister of fourteen years.
“He’s dead, Nat,” She blubbered. “He’s dead, our fathers dead.” So I sat up, and held her, and never once for a long time did I tell her that I had seen my father the day he died. Never once did I mention it to any of my family until the burden was too much to bare and I felt I’d tell them or die.
“DOA.” My mother said coldly. And the guilt in the pit of my stomach was made all the worse by the fact that I had never heard my ma’s voice so frigid. And then her face twisted and contorted into something so tortured I thought for a moment that she had been horribly physically hurt. “They found him like they always found him before when he would disappear!” She spat. “In a pile of his own vomit. Except this time the vomit was blood. And this time he was dead, Nat.”
And we all huddled up in that front yard until the dirt beneath us had soaked us through and through. And we all huddled up like a pack of wolves and howled for our long lost daddy.





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