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Goodbye

“I’m ready to go.”

This line rings through my head every second of everyday, yet the sharp pain has never dulled, even after all these years. It seems to be woven into my very being. That memory is still so vivid; maybe it’s because of the constant playbacks it has endured. Let’s play it back one more time, before locking it away in the distant past.

I slid my feet over the smooth wood floor, cringing at the cold contact. I was hidden, slumped in a chair just around the curve in the kitchen counter. I stealthily raised my head to see into the next room where my parents and grandfather sat. Inaudible voices floated from the other room, I tried to listen, but they were too quiet. Silently and with great caution, I rolled my chair closer to the doorway to listen. When I began making out sentences I stopped and laid my head on the counter. Cold, the house seemed to have lost its warm atmosphere from earlier at dinner. I brought my feet up with me in the chair and pulled my legs close to my chest. The voices had stopped in the other room, so I closed my eyes.

The house creaked in complaint as the wind outside began to kick up. Everything was dark; swallowed up by the shadows. There wasn’t even a moon to illuminate the sleeping world.

The voices started up again with a more serious tone. With my eyes closed the words became more distinct. I could hear the sound of a jagged intake of breath. My mother was crying. My mind wandered on the subject on what she could be crying about. After a few seconds I snapped back to reality to hear another deep inhale of breath, except this time it was calmer and from my grandfather. I strained to hear what he was about to say.

“I’m ready to go.”

I could feel the world shatter around me like a glorious mirror dropped onto unforgiving cement. The ceaseless waterfall of tears cascading down my face was the only thing I could feel; my whole body had become numb. Thoughts coursed through my mind like shooting stars. They were moving too fast for me to catch them.

How could he say that?

Doesn’t he care about us anymore?

I don’t want him to go!

After the thoughts drifted to a stop I put up a wall in my mind. In the other room my mom let out a loud sob. The wall instantly crumbled. Past memories flooded into my mind one right after another. The world outside my closed eyes seemed to melt away as I began to relive the memories.

I was sitting on his lap with a book opened in front of us. My little hands pointed out words and delicately touched the pictures before the page was turned. Then, we were in the backyard. He was chasing me around the kiddies’ pool with the garden hose which was gushing with cold water. Again the world changed, this time we were sitting across each other at the dinner table. He hungrily bit into his pizza and made a confused face. He picked off what looked to be a mushroom and started laughing as he realized it was cardboard. It changed again to a park in Cheyenne. We were throwing lawn darts at the circle not 20 feet away. More memories pelted me again leaving me stunned. This torment didn’t falter and seemed like it would go on forever. Suddenly, they stopped on the view of the lake we always went to. I sat next to him with a fishing pole tight in my grip. I looked down in the water’s surface to see the name of the boat reflected in the distorted looking glass in elegant lettering, Time Away. My fishing line jerked and I began to reel. In a flash, the fish was in the net, flailing his life away on deck. Without a second glance he threw the fish into a bucket. He gingerly set his hand on my head. The setting sun illuminated his smiling face in its golden rays.

My eyes flashed open, all the feeling in my body had returned. Aches and pains were everywhere. I let out a silent cry as I lifted myself from the chair and stumbled to my room. Even under the dense covers of my bed I still felt the chill that had taken over the entire house. I curled up in a smaller ball and brought my head under the blanket.

He had been taken off his medicine, his insulin, and everything he needed to survive. He is the fish, struggling without water, just waiting to die. I know he had accepted that fact… but I couldn’t. I couldn’t say how long I cloaked myself in the covers, but it seemed like eternity and time just kept ticking by.

A short month later I stood before the altar which presented a smiling picture of him. With shaking hands I reached out and brushed the photo with my fingertips and continued to trace the frame. It was all over, I had no other choice but to accept it. He was gone. The dull pain in my chest became sharp as I heard my mother sobbed at my side. In my hand a worry stone was being crushed in a death grip. Just as she walked off with my dad, a shockwave of melancholy shot up my arm and straight to my mouth. I bit it back and held it in. I wouldn’t say it. The pain intensified when I realized I was holding my breath. Finally, I released the uncontrollable feeling in the embodiment of one word.

“Goodbye.”





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