Posted by BooksforDinner, Jun 21, 2012. 523 views. ID = 5725
This post was written in 15 minutes.
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It was just after 2 am when we got to the hospital. There was a nurse talking to my mother when we arrived, saying she had just arrived and we could go in and see her in about 10 minutes. We sat in the waiting room waiting. We were all chatting, reading magazines and playing silly games on our phones.
I knew it, as soon as the doctor, wearing his light blue scrubs began leading us up the hallway to another, more private waiting room. I knew it as he glanced behind him to see the slightly hopeful, weary faces of the people following him. Once we were all in the room he cleared his throat, and began speaking very softly. Two people began speaking over the top of him, asking him questions he did not hear, or did not want to. Only I heard the rest of his sentence. Only I heard it the full three times he said it before I heard the moan come from my father, and the sobs from my mother, along with the question,
“What do you mean she’s no longer with us?”
All around me I could hear the sobs, moans and sniffling from my family, while I myself was crying kneeling in front of my father, his hand on my back, whether giving support or borrowing I don’t know.
I don’t know how long we sat there drawing and giving strength to each other. Phone calls were made to other family members that could not be there.
I asked in a shaky, quiet voice, “What about, Theresa?”
“She’s at Joanna’s house. I tried to call her, but her phone must be flat or off.” My father answered in an equally shaky voice. “We’ll have to go get her.”
A few hours later we pulled up in front of Joanna’s house. The house was dark and silent. My father knocked on the door several times before we saw a light go on in the house. A man in his pajamas came to the door looking wary and scruffy.
“What is it?” He asked.
My father responded, while my stepmother, Mac and I stood close together on the steps behind him, “I’m sorry to wake you, but there’s been a family emergency. Where is Theresa?”
A woman behind the scruffy man said, “She’s in the guest house, with the others. We’ll open the carport door for you.”
The scruffy man opened the carport door and led us to the guest house also unlocking that for us. My father turned on the light, located my sister and gently woke her up.
“Dad? What…?” She said sleepily.
“We tried to ring you.”
“My phone is flat. Why? What?” She said, sitting up and looking from me to Mac to our father.
“I’m sorry baby.” Dad started, his voice breaking, “Hope passed away this morning.”
My heart broke for the second time that night as I watched my sister’s face.
“What? You’re joking right?” Her voice cracking with un-shed tears.
Dad shook his head, pulling her into a hug. I had to turn away. I could not watch her. My heart throbbed painfully in my chest just hearing her sobs. I could not watch her heart break.
Although the drive back to my father’s house was only about ten minutes, it felt so much longer. We pulled into the drive, and piled out of the car one by one. For a long time we all just sat together on the couch. I do not remember who spoke first or the conversation that followed. Around 7am the phone rang. It was dad’s mum. She was catching the first available flight. While alone in the lounge room, I took the opportunity to ring the only person I thought could be any sort of comfort. Although we had broken up a month or so before, I thought that he would say something that would help just a little or just enough to get me through the moment. He answered the second time I rang.
“Yeah?” He said, his voice thick, and slow with sleep.
“I’m sorry to call, but I didn’t have anyone else, and you knew her so you have a right to know. Hope died this morning.”
“Are you listening to me? Stop laughing! It’s not funny!”
“Yeah, I’m listening. What?” He said, angrily, but not laughing anymore.
“I said Hope passed away this morning.”
“Well I didn’t know her. What do you want me to do about it?”
I sat stunned into silence for several seconds with tears running down my cheeks. My sister, Theresa, stood in the door way, her attention caught by my raised voice.
“Nothing. I just thought…”
“Ok, whatever.” He hung up.
I wiped the tears off my face and tried to ring my best friend, Sam, but he didn’t answer.
Theresa and I curled up on the futon in the spare room together, talking softly about nothing in particular until she said she would rather be alone and went to her own room and bed. I stared off into space for a while, tears running down my face, for a number of minutes, until my phone rang. It was Sam.
“Hey babe! What’s up?”
“Hey. I didn’t know who else to call.” I sobbed.
“What’s wrong?” He asked.
“Hope passed away early this morning. I just didn’t know who else to call.”
“Oh my god! I’m so sorry. Is there anything I can do?”
“No. I don’t know. I just…” I said, sobbing quietly.
“I’m just about to start work. That’s why I didn’t answer your call. If there is anything I can do for you, call me. OK?” Sam said. I could hear the concern and affection in his voice.
“Ok. Thank you.” We hung up. I lay there on the guest bed tears slowly running down my face, the house quiet.
I suppose I eventually fell asleep as the next thing I know Dad was sitting on the coffee table in front of me, his hand on my shoulder.
“Jess? Jessie B?”
“Daddy?” I answered sleepily, then the morning came rushing back and I moaned, closing my eyes.
“I rang the place you had a job interview at today and told them what has happened. We are going to head to your mothers soon. Want to get ready?” He said gently, his hand still on my shoulder.
I nodded, feeling like I was 7 again and all I wanted was to sit in his lap have him stroke my hair and tell me everything was going to be alright. He left the room, leaving me to get dressed. I sat on the edge of the futon for several moments trying to numb myself. Trying to prepare for everything that was about to happen. I sighed, shakily and climbed to my feet, picking up my pants.Copyright 2012 BooksforDinner. All rights reserved. FifteenMinutesOfFiction.com has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.
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