I hadn’t felt fear like this in awhile. It wasn’t the type of fear you felt the first time you drove in a car, or when you went to the zoo as a child and let your imagination run free; What if the lion escaped those thick steel bars?
However, it was the fear you felt when your mother began growing old and joking about death.
“What will you do without me?” She would chuckle and you would as well. Not sincerely though because you had no idea what you would do after she died. Mothers are always there, from start until finish. They can’t die, right?
It is also the fear you feel when you get home late from work and realize you left the front gate slightly ajar. You scramble out of the car and call out your dog’s name but you know he is gone. Your parents get home and there is screaming and crying and you dwell on the fact that this morning you forgot to give him the crusts off your toast like you usually do.
It is the fear of losing someone.
Standing there, cellphone in hand, the words rippled through my body; “He’s gone”.
“He’s gone?” I couldn’t believe it. I wouldn’t.
“They–” a pause. Soft voices spoke from the other end of the line. “The surgery failed”. My head throbbed and my legs crippled beneath me. Someone was screaming and sobbing. It took me a moment to realize it was myself.
The phone had dropped and the screen cracked against the kitchen tile.
My parents sputtered into the room, looking at the sorry sight I was. They immediately knew.
“He’s gone” I repeated the words aloud, not speaking to my parents but instead trying to convince myself of the truth of the sentence. My mother came and cradled me in her arms. It was comforting, the mother’s touch always is. My father came and sat beside us on the icy floor. No one spoke. I suppose it was a time for words but not ones that are to be heard with our ears. It was time for our hearts to scream out all of its emotions and angst to the other hearts in the room. We, as humans, do this by crying. Sad crying, not angry. Angry crying is filled with stress and anxiety and red breath with messy hair and danger. Sad crying is blue and purple, essentially indigo. It is shown through choking sobs and stingy eyes.
I would like to say that this moment of my mother and father hugging me as I sobbed grotesquely only lasted for a moment. It did not. When I looked up at the green glowing clock, the only beacon of light in the kitchen, two hours had passed.
I fell asleep in my mother’s arms and dreamed of a castle that held a prince who was elegant and compassionate. I did not find out the identity of the prince until moments before I woke. He had his back turned to me and when he finally rolled his shoulder over and let me have a sneak peek at the handsome sight that he was my breath hitched in my throat. Where his heart should’ve been had been replaced by blackness, scorching his red suit. A hole carved from his chest perfectly, as if a spoon was used, and there in the emptiness you saw the only ugly thing about him. His “ticker”, his “clock”. Shriveled up and gasping it lay there, barely hanging on.
“Would you like to touch it?” he asked. But I did not want to touch something so ugly. I turned and shrieked as I ran from the prince and his dying heart.
When I woke the next morning I was in my bed, my white duvet pulled taut over my chest. It was a magical feeling to wake up to, the thought of my father carrying me up the stairs in his arms. I was reminded of the fond memories from when I was a child. I would fall asleep on the couch as we watched television and he would lug me up the stairs.
It’s funny how something so small could be so missed as time passed.
I began thinking of other trivial things I missed. When we used to walk along the beach with our toes in the soft sand, when he was acting silly and flipped his hair, pretending to be George Washington, the way he hated those Blender Bottle things because they were “useless” and “ugly”. I remembered his laugh and how he would snort because he was laughing too hard. I also remember when the doctor told me to try to refrain from making him laugh because it was becoming too painful for him.
One thing that will never make me sad to remember was his freckles. They dotted his face like the footprints of a ballerina at a dance performance. I always loved space, however I wonder if I only loved it because I saw his gleaming face, with his freckles that reminded me of the stars, when I looked up into the night sky. From here on out, perhaps I will only ever find things beautiful when they remind me of him.