Looking Back

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I was in gym class. As a seven-year-old, gym class was fun. We were all excited to burn off the energy that many little kids seem to be full of. I remember the bright lights of the gym and how open the space was as we gathered around the gym teacher, hearing what game we were going to play. “Okay, we are going to play poison ball!” the teacher chimed as everyone’s faces lit up. Everyone loved poison ball. It was like dodge ball but with a giant ball and there were no teams. There was one person that got to have the ball.
Today, it was my turn to knock my fellow classmates around and get them out with a giant ball. I was very excited to have that ball. I pushed it around and I remember the sound of the kid’s shoes squeak against the gym floor. I had already gotten a few kids out when I was pushing the ball to the opposite side of the gym. I was getting ready to get a few kids out when I saw my mother in the doorway. The gym teacher called me over and said, “Your mother is here to get you.” I thought “Ok,” and walked out of the gym. With my mother was her friend, Miss Londa; she was also my best friend Laura’s mother. My first thought was, “Why is she here?” I saw that they had gotten my sister from her class. I stared at her, confused. It was winter so I put my coat on. I saw that we were going to walk and prepared myself for the cold. Our house was conveniently placed directly across from the school. We stepped out of the doors and entered the chilly air. I saw the snow lightly fluttering down. I looked at my sister and asked, “What’s going on?” She just looked at me and said, “We’ll find out soon.” We kept walking for what felt like forever, like time had stopped. Our feet were walking, but it felt like we were floating. We finally reached our house and entered. I could feel the blaze of heat from our home as I took off my coat. I felt like I was the only one who was out of the loop. We went and sat in the living room. I remember our blue striped couch, me on the left and my sister on the right. My mom sat on our green chair while Miss Londa waited in the kitchen. The rest is a blur. My mom told us gently that our father had died at seven-thirty that morning. I didn’t feel anything and just stared at the floor. It was five days before Christmas, my favorite holiday.
Before he died, we were putting up Christmas decorations and I was very cold. I asked my mom if we could turn up the heat but she told me to ask my dad. I asked pleadingly, “Can we turn up the heat?” He was sitting there sweating, an affect of the cancer wearing on his body. I sat next to him on the couch and he covered me with my pink Barbie sleeping bag. “No princess. Just use blankets to get warm,” he said. I frowned unaware of how uncomfortable he was. I remember thinking about that moment while staring at the floor. That day my sister and I stayed home from school. I oddly remember what we ate that night, fried chicken which my friend Jessica’s mom had brought us.
The next thing I remember is that it was dark outside. My mom could not stand to be in our house another second. Miss Londa drove two hours from Pennsylvania that day. Now we were all driving to Pennsylvania. I remember going upstairs before we left to grab my white stuffed animal mouse. It was wearing an angel costume. I had bought it at Wal-Mart the week before. I saw it and told my mom it would be a Christmas present for my dad. I gave the mouse to him and he said, “That’s ok, you keep it.” He knew that I was the one who actually wanted the mouse to be mine. I held that mouse and burst into tears. My vision was so blurred I could barely recognize the doorway I was walking out of. We drove late at night and arrived at Miss Londa’s house. Mrs. Londa Mona is actually her name. Whenever we refer to the Mona family we just say the Mona’s. “Remember that time we did that thing at the Mona’s?” is said often. I don’t remember the next few days but I remember enjoying them. I was with my best friend around Christmas time. We had fun.
On Christmas morning we woke up very early to open our gifts. We had to wait until their whole family got there though so we could read from the Bible. I remember waiting impatiently as Laura’s grandma read. It was finally time to open our presents. My mom didn’t bring that many of our presents from our home in Ohio so my sister and I didn’t have as many presents as the others. I do remember the very long, outrageous wigs Laura’s mom and my mom had bought for us. We posed for pictures and put on movie star sunglasses. I got the blonde wig because I am a brunette and Laura got the brunette wig because she is blonde. We looked ridiculous in those pictures when I look at them now.
I didn’t realize what an effect that those days would have on my life. I didn’t really understand that I would grow up without my daddy by my side. That he would miss the sports I played, the friends I made, and those special family moments that you remember when you are older. People say I look like my dad and that scares me. I watch old home videos and it’s like I’m watching a ghost, a shadow of me and what I am to become. If he wouldn’t have died than I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I know that life is not fair and you have to make your own happy ending through having a tough skin and hard work. People are not always going to be there for you. You have to let people know you care for them and that they are important in your life.





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