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It’s Tuesday, the worst day of the week. Most hate Mondays, but I hate Tuesdays. Tuesdays are just the day that follows Monday. They don’t feel any closer to Friday, and you don’t always expect that you will have a bad day on Tuesday. But this Tuesday wasn’t all that bad; I just didn’t realize it yet.
I was just sitting in class, when the secretary walked in and whispered something to my 3rd hour English teacher, Mrs. Whestover. Whestover’s eyes looked shocked, and she called me up to the front of the class. The secretary, Mrs. Harmon, took me by the arm and led me out the door. My grandma was standing outside in the hall. I hadn’t seen my grandma in months. Not since my grandfather’s funeral.
“Hi grandma,” I said a little confused. She looked like she had been crying. My grandma never cries, I think I saw her shed one tear and my grandpa’s funeral.
“Your father…” she broke off and hung her head, trying to hide a tear leaking from her eye.
What could have he done this time? He has been in and out of jail since I can remember… but that wouldn’t make my grandma cry. Then all of a sudden, it occurred to me, I hadn’t seen my dad in 6 months. Not since the incident.
“Your father is in the hospital,” she finished.
“Wait. What for?”
I think my grandma was offended with my dis-concern. I couldn’t help that I had become numb to situations concerning my father. Sure he is my flesh and blood but after so many times, you just become immune to the stupidity. After someone lets you down so many times, crushing your hopes and ruining your chance to ever trust again, the same act just gets old, like a song stuck on replay.
“He was driving and got in a wreck. His car is completely totaled and they had to life flight him. He is in critical condition. His skull is cracked; they think he hit his head on the steering wheel. The only thing he will do is mumble your name. They can’t get any other response out of him.”
My heart sunk a little. All of a sudden, I felt like I meant something to him. I felt kind of special. Was I ready to see him again?
I tried to talk, but I couldn’t. I was silent, speechless. So many things ran through my head, all the “What If’s” and “How Comes.” My grandma took that as the perfect opportunity to take my by the arm and lead me to the front office where she checked my out of school. We went and got in her typical grandma car. A white Buick with gray interior, and we drove.
We drove all the way to the hospital. The whole ride I was completely silent. I didn’t know what to say yet. I found myself wiping tears off my cheek, but feeling nothing inside. I was completely numb. I didn’t feel sad, or angry, or anything for that matter. I felt nothing. Yet tears ran down my cheeks. I wanted to get out and run away from everything, but I knew I couldn’t. I felt like a lion locked up in a cage at the Central Park Zoo.
Running always helps me figure things out. I love to run. You know why I love running? Because I feel free… like nothing can stop me. Nothing can hurt me. My feet are just gliding, hovering, over the ground and nothing can touch me. I usually run when I can’t face something, but not this time.
I had to face what was ahead. I had to face seeing my own father in critical condition. I had to face possibly losing the most important man in my life, the one I hadn’t seen in six months. Then it hit me. I was so dumb for not letting go of that grudge; the grudge of that incident.
We arrived at the hospital. When I got out of the car, I wanted to just run away. I wanted to take off down the side walk. I wanted to stay outside and let the rain storm that just began, wash away my memory. I wanted to let go, but something inside of me was still just holding on. I knew I couldn’t run though. I had to see my dad, maybe for the last time.
Walking into room 209, I was overwhelmed, taken by a feeling of need. I yearned to have my father back in my life. I had shut him out for so long, not giving him thanks for still paying for my phone bill and sending me money every month. I was so selfish. How could he even forgive me? Then it all flashed back in my head.
Sitting on the bed in a hotel room 902, I rocked back and forth, crying. He was knocking on the door, screaming cuss words and banging his fists on the locked mechanism standing in between him and I. He was drunk, again. Sometimes when people are drunk, you can tolerate it. Some people get all happy and silly when they are drunk, not my father. He got mean; mean and terrifying. Somehow he got in. He must have grabbed a key when he left to go downstairs. He came in stumbling, choking on his own spit, and drool falling from his chin. He had a beer in his hand. He screamed at me, “Why didn’t you open the door?!” I was so scared. I just cried even harder. He approached me. I moved. He tried to grab me. I grabbed the lamp and hit him on the head. He was knocked out cold. Trembling, I got out my cell phone and called my sister sobbing. When she arrived, I was waiting in the lobby, leaving my drunken father upstairs, on the floor of room 902.
Snapping back into reality, I realized I had just frozen in the doorway. I could see my father, lying on the hospital bed, cords extending from his arms, nose, and throat. I had this weird sensation. I couldn’t move. Normally I would want to run, but my feet were frozen, gravity pulling down more than ever before. I managed to get to the side of him.
He turned his head and smiled, “My sweetheart,” he muttered.
I completely broke right then and there. Tears were streaming from my eyes like a waterfall of devastation. I reached and put my hand on his hand. His hands were so cold to a point of code purple. I couldn’t find the strength to say anything so I just smiled. When he looked me in the eye, and I saw my father again, the one I had when I was just little; the one who use to take me fishing and biking, the one who was my best friend. I saw him again. And I let go. I let go of all the grudges and fear of being torn again. I again felt trust in my father, and I wasn’t filled with nothing. I felt happy again.
I told my dad stories and laughed as I told him. He just listened contently, not saying anything, but his warm smile said enough. I told him about how I was on the track team and how I loved to run and he just smiled even bigger. He loved to run too. He is the reason I loved to run.
Then my dad murmured something. I couldn’t make out just what he said at first, but then I leaned closer. He said, “Kemberly… I love you.”
I smiled and returned, “I love you too dad.”