What Have I to Lose? | Teen Ink

What Have I to Lose?

October 23, 2015
By Hanapiranha SILVER, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Hanapiranha SILVER, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
8 articles 5 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


She had left home early. There was something about a project she forgot to do and now she had to drive to her friend’s house at 4:00am to finish it, irking my slumber. We commenced to a loud brawl where we exchanged some nasty comments, and she ended it by slamming the door in my face, leaving earlier than intended. I didn’t want to think about her or our conversation until she got back in the afternoon.
  It was breezy that morning, as if a sudden chill descended upon our neighborhood in a dense autumn fog. The rear of my sister’s car pulled off the gravel driveway and disappeared around the bend; there was no longer a roar of an engine, just early morning silence with an occasional laughing crow. As I combed my tattered hair, my arm swept across the vanity, and the soap bottle clattered to the floor, making a loud bang as it connected with the tiles. I froze, suddenly remembering my dream last night. BANG! Red seeped through his white shirt, the crimson so unmistakable against the pale cloth. He fell back and laid on the wet cement. His eyes focused upward. Or perhaps he only could gaze that direction, as all the life left his pulse in just under a few moments. What went on in his mind, I imagined, was not the sound of gun fire, nor the scatter of shoes on the sidewalk, nor even the bitter stench of week-old trash. It was, at his very last breath, not his family, but the sky. It was black. And he could not see any much else after that. I shuttered at the thought. I woke up crying in the middle of the night, panting heavily as though I had just ran a marathon. The idea that Dad would be gone from our lives startled me. I don’t think any one of us would know what to do. Of course we would, but it would be missing something, as though the purpose and motive regarding life’s routine carried no feeling. He was the backbone of the family, always there for us and prepared for any situation. I grew anxious as I curled up under the covers and willed myself to sleep again, though my night was restless.
I kissed Mom goodbye, lingering on my hug just a little longer than appropriate. I pray nothing would happen to her at work, and I even wished her a safe day. She gave me an odd what’s-that-supposed-to-mean look (strange for the child to wish a parent safety I assume) but departed anyway. I couldn’t bear to lose her either. It was Father who would drop me off at school. I climbed instinctively in the passenger seat, then he appeared and closed the driver door, already buckled in as my mind whirled. He would be fine, I thought. It was just a dream. The engine started and I took a huge gulp of air then exhaled. By now it was 7:05. “I’ll be at work late tonight. You’ll have to take the bus.” I hesitated on my way to closing the car door. “You’re going to work today?” I questioned. “Yeah, like every day,” he said sarcastically. I bit my lip, wanting to warn him of a bad feeling I had. All I was able to say was “Okay…” I waved Dad farewell from the school entry. He would be fine. After all, it was just a nightmare, and that gives people superstition, not reason. Nothing bad would happen to him today.
I sat at the front of my English class, for my teacher and I had a mutual sympathetic. I wasn’t popular by any means, and I think she understood that quite fine. So we would chat before the bell. I do think, though, this morning she noticed my distraught face, and to my appreciation, did not push me further. She knew I just liked to handle things myself rather than be confronted about it. The bell had rung and we were into the first five minutes. My hands felt numb as I thought about the chance of actually losing my father. I looked up to him. Who doesn’t? It’s more than just the typical “Daddy’s little girl” or “like Father, like Daughter”. I think I take after him more than my mom, actually. More of the tomboy, less of the high-maintenance fashionista. I would be paralyzed. The image of his lifeless body did not bring me chills as much as waking up tomorrow morning and discovering that he would no longer be sitting at the dining room table with us, no longer driving me to school every morning, no longer tucking me into bed each night, or kissing his wife and whispering the most beautifully heartfelt “I love you” before ceasing all conversation for that day and falling asleep. We would not function as a family if it were just 3 of us. Each member was as valuable as the individual. We would be as dysfunctional as a 3 legged desk. I would and could not live after that. Before I could realize it, a tear trickled down my cheek. I had been sniffling too. I hastily wiped it off with my sleeve, leaving a burning irritation on my face. What if the last thing I had ever said to him was “okay”? I hadn’t even said I love you. Something—anything could happen today, next week, next year, and I would never know how to spend the last moment because I would not know it would be the last moment until it was over. I kept hearing my name over and over again, wondering if it were me trying to tell me something. Instead it was the teacher calling me. “They asked if you could go down to the office,” she said. Her expression had dropped considerably to a slow, clear voice despite her fingers covering her bottom lip as though she was recovering from a gasp. She sounded startled and empathetic at the same time. I nodded and shuffled out of my seat. Oh no. What if something did happen to Dad?
They all looked up from their desks and conversations as I entered the room, staring at me with distress in their eyes. My first thought was, is there something on my face? The principle herself was standing among her colleagues, and she spoke with such simple clarity that my heart sank a little. “I think you should sit down. This might be a bit hard to process.” Please not Dad, please don’t be Dad… I did not take a seat as suggested. “It’s not… my dad, he’s not…” I mumbled. The words were just rambled in my mouth and I forced myself silent with the inability to form coherent sentences. The temperature in the room could have dropped 20 degrees. Goosebumps ran up and down my arms, though it was a mental feeling rather than a physical reaction. I was impossibly sure of what she would tell me. The thing I would be dreading all day long. I never thought I would hear it though. And yet, as she opened her mouth to speak—“There’s been an accident.” She paused. Her eyes then trailed away from mine, unable to keep contact. “I’m so sorry.”
I covered my mouth with my hand, feeling the heavy pants of breaths trying to escape my throat, but all it really meant to me was I was suffocating. Though her next set of words had my heart drop into an ocean of—not darkness nor despair—but guilt. “Your sister was in a head on collision. She didn’t make it.”
My sister’s last memory of me, under a dark sky before sunrise, with hardly a clue about what would happen to her, speeding down a road, rattling with frustration, was hate. My last image of her was boiling with, similarly, and under every consequence I wish not true, hate. What would I have said instead if I had known what would occur? I love you? Would she have felt it? If I hadn’t lashed out with words, simple words, at her, would she not have felt the urge to leave me presence earlier? And would she still be with me? Though I will never know. I had lost that one critical time. That one last moment. For as long as I live, there will never be a time I am able to say anything to her ever again.



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