Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Conversation (face to face) (10/07/10)
TITLE: That Night
By Tammie Smith
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The lighting crackles again lighting up the sky and illuminating the building in front of me. With the drenching rain pouring down on me, I walk unsteadily towards the building.
My heart thunders in my chest almost as loud as the thunder looming over my head. The doors automatically open and I step inside.
The chill I feel as I step inside the building makes me wonder if it is from my wet clothes in the cold air of the building or is it because of the conversation I am about to have.
Slowly I walk down the hall noticing the dull pattern of the tiles on the floor. With a slight tilt of my head, I look towards the end of the hall. I see him and immediately lower my eyes. I know what he is going to say, but I want to pretend for a few minutes that nothing has changed.
The conversation we need to have means the end to my childhood, and I wonder if I am ready for this conversation.
I study him as I walk closer; I realize he looks different. He looks older than his forty-eight years, and from this distance, I see the tears shining under the harsh fluorescent lights. My father is strong and sturdy. I can always depend on him. Now he looks broken and weak. For many nights in the past month, a good night's sleep has been impossible for him, and at this moment, he looks exhausted. His face looks weary, and tears are streaking down his unusually red and swollen face.
I want go home. At home, everything is still the same. I am afraid to finish walking down this hall. I want to delay this conversation as long as possible. I stop and close my eyes. It is taking all of my courage to raise my head and look him in the eye. If I look into his eyes I will see the pain, and know the truth and it hurts knowing the truth.
My father tries to talk, but he merely sobs. He takes a deep breath while I hold mine. He does not want to say what I do not want to hear. Speaking the words will make it real.
In a quiet voice he whispers. “She died.”
In my mind, I refuse to accept those words. I know she wouldn’t leave me. I am barely twenty. Am I ready to face the world without her.
My father looks at me. “Did you hear me? Your mom has died.” I did, but I feel frozen. I stand there with a blank stare on my face. I am numb. I can not feel anything.
My thoughts are screaming, I want to say something, but the words are stuck.
Shakily I speak. “I want to see her.”
“Ok I will take you,” he said
“No, I want to go by myself. I have to see her alone.”
My mind continues to race. I remember the day six weeks ago when she was admitted to the hospital. I remember the conversation with her father when they found out they both had cancer on the same day. I remember her telling me she would be ok, she would beat this. I scream loudly, but no sound escapes my mouth, she lied.
The nurse opens the door. “I will go in by myself,” I quietly told her.
This is not her room. They have moved her to this room. Where are all the sweet smelling flowers and cards from family and friends. This room is cold.
This is not where she belongs. I wish with all my heart she was back in the warm room with the pictures, blankets and comforts from home.
I whisper, “Hi mom.”
“I will love you always, and I will take care of daddy. I have to say goodbye now.”
It was the conversation I never wanted, but I didn't want it to end.
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