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The Killer Of My Father

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As I sit in the waiting room, my shaking hands curled together, I begin to think of my father. He was a nice man. At least, his intensions always were. There a few things I will never understand, like why he divorced my mom, or why he lied to me about it. But he always taught me to forgive.

I think back to when he had the apartment, when I was very little. Only ten, I think. My brother and I loved that place. Even though there were only three rooms, everyone was filled with adventure. I smile to myself as I remember building pillow forts and sleeping in them. Of course, the forts were so small and fragile that they fell down on us the moment we went in. That didn’t bother us—we just slept on top of everything.
As I grew older, everything turned into a pillow fort. And everywhere, they were dropping, shattering. We moved out of the apartment, and into a neighborhood. I was happy for the extra space—and we actually had our own bedroom, my brother and I, to share. We got a dog and grew a garden, and for a long time, it seemed like everything was fine.

“Alexis Johnson?” The doctor calls, looking at his clipboard. I stand up and feel my legs give away a little, the air around me too shallow to breathe. Quickly, I gain control of myself and give the doctor a small smile. “Down here, please,” he says.

A few years in that house did something to him, I guess, because he started losing it. He was bankrupt, with no job and no way to pay for the medicine he needed. I remember one Christmas, we had nothing. All the presents were from people we didn’t know, transported through the church. Even the tree was from them.

I follow the doctor down a white hall, the only decorations little pieces of bare wall where the paint has been peeled off. I try not to look into the rooms, where others are suffering from diseases and injuries far from anything I’ve ever had. And I just remind myself how lucky I am.

Things got better for my Dad. The court approved his request for Social Security, so he was given money every month instead of food stamps.

The hallway seems to go on forever, each overhead florescent light winding its way into my head. They make me sick, and when I look away from them, a purple glare clouds my vision. I almost stumble into one of the walls, my hands beginning to shake worse than ever.

I didn’t understand Social Security at first. I didn’t know why, all of a sudden, he was rich. Well, rich to our standards. I would ask him, but he told me not to worry. It wasn’t until one night when I was watching him after dinner that I finally figured it out.

“In here, Mrs. Johnson,” The Doctor says, leading me into a harshly lit room with white stained walls. I walk into the middle of the room and look back at him. He gives me a sidelong glance and tells me to sit down. Hesitantly, I do.

My Dad had something clenched in his left hand, and a glass of water in the right. He rose the glass to his mouth, and then rolled something from his left hand to the tips of his fingers. As the glass was pulled from his lips, I saw what he then shoved in. It was a pill, small and red. Nothing significant, but for some reason I couldn’t tear my eyes away. He repeated the process, with a white, smaller, pill this time. And he did it again. And again. And again. I tried to count, I remember. I tried to go up as far as I could, but I must have lost track somewhere past fifteen.

“Well,” says The Doctor, looking down at the clipboard again.

After the pills, I thought my Dad was done. But I was still curious, so I followed him when he got up—he didn’t seem to care.
I watched him go to his office, where he pulled something out of the drawer. It was tiny, and had blinking numbers running across its screen. My Dad pushed a few buttons and then pressed his finger up against its edge. He flinched a little at something unknown to my little ten year old mind, and then pulled the device away. I watched as blood welled up out of his finger. I think I gasped, even. I was so surprised… I couldn’t figure out why he would want to hurt himself. Of course, now I know.

“Mrs. Johnson… after running all the tests, I’ve found you’re diagnosis,” The Doctor says, looking away from his clipboard and down at me. There is pity in his eyes.

I used to think it was the device that killed my Dad—or maybe all the pills. But they were the only thing keeping him alive.

“You have Type Two Diabetes,” says The Doctor.
And just like that, I feel as if I’ve died as well. Here is the murderer of my father, running through my veins; an intruder lurking in my body, just waiting to strike.

At least, when it does, I’ll see him in heaven.

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MercyChristine said...
Dec. 2, 2011 at 8:03 pm

i can totally relate!  my sister just got diagnosed with diabetes.  I love how you built up the suspense into thinking it was something bigger than it really was... cool! 

nice job


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