Tuesday, April 05, 2005
memories, part iv
It always plays out the same way.
I'm standing behind the glass, watching him play. All sound is muffled except the sounds of the game... the squeaking of shoes against the hardwood floor, the rhythmic noise of the ball hitting the wall and ground. I can smell the particular brand of gymn funk - the smell of sweat and of the inadequate cheap air freshener that's trying to cover it.
Then suddenly, it's quiet and I can't smell anything. My father is laying on the ground, on his back. I can't see his face, only his shoes and his socks. He's not moving at all. There's a feeling of panic in the air. People rushing around. Someone is trying to do CPR. I don't want to look, but I can't close eyes. My muscles are frozen. I reach my hand out, but its blocked by the glass.
The scene changes.
I'm leaving school early to see my father. I get picked up and dropped off at Valley Medical Center. I'm walking through the halls of the hospital to my father's room. The place is empty and I feel cold. The air smells like medicine and disinfectant. The sound of my shoes shuffling against the carpet is strange... I'm shaking.
I can't see any color. Everything is shaded and gray.
I enter the room and my father's bed is on the left side. Machines and tubes and wires surround him as he lays in his coma. There's the cliche beeping of the heart monitor in the background. I tentatively stretch out my right hand to hold his hand, but my hand hovers right above it... as if there's something keeping it from moving the last few inches to make contact. I close my eyes and force my hand down by sheer will.
The feeling of holding my father's hand is strange. It doesn't feel right... only about a month in the hospital and the hand has withered, the muscles atrophied. I look at his face, his closed eyes and I'm not used to seeing him without his glasses on. My hand squeezes his, wondering if at least he'd squeeze back. Please let him wake up, I pray silently as I squeeze his hand again and look at his face. There's no response.
The scene changes again.
I'm being picked up from school early again, but I notice that I'm being taken to my house first instead of the hospital. My sister and I are told to go upstairs to see my mother. The house is quiet except for the scattered murmurs of family and close friends talking.
I walk up the staircase, the familiar steps... seven steps, turn, seven steps. I turn left and walk to my parents' bedroom, pushing the half-closed door open. I hear my mother sniffling on the otherside. My mother is sitting on the bed. There's a box of tissues next to her, along with paperwork and colored brochures. As she motions us to come closer, I notice the titles of the brochures. The words assault my eyes.
Understanding Grief. Helping Your Child Grieve. Explaining Death to Your Child. DEATH.
No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no NO, I'm repeating in my mind. My mother hasn't even spoken yet, but I look at her face and I just know. I can't breath. The air is still.
My jaw tightens, my teeth feel like they're clenching hard enough to break. My eyes feel hot and I try to clench them tight too. But the tears force their way out anyway.
The scene changes again.
I'm back at the athletic club again, sitting with my sister in the child-care nursery. It stinks of baby powder. Both my sister and I sit motionless on chairs that are too small for us, surrounded by toys that we're too old for. A television is playing from a hanging mount in the corner. We're the alone in a nursery... the only children along with the nanny, a young white girl who watches the TV.
I'm sure your father will be OK, she says. They're probably just taking him to the hospital for treatment or some tests.
I stare at her and my eyes narrow. I turn to look away, without saying a word. Please let him be OK, I pray in my head. Was it something I did? Please let him be OK.
My brow is furrowed as I close my eyes to pray. The TV drones on, but I can't hear it.
The dream always plays out the same way.
(memories parts i, ii, iii)
By the artist formerly known as faye (thanks). Been meaning to post this for awhile.
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