I cradled my phone in my hand, running my thumb against the outside of the bulky flip phone, my mind racing as I replayed the conversation in my head.
Dad had called his voice frail as he spoke of the new hospital he had been placed in, the one in Fairfax. “Good place, but it has terrible food,” he had commented, chuckling softly until he broke off with a cough. That had been the beginning of our little talk, right before he got down to the real business. He had told the news that the doctor said he only had a year to live at most; the cancer was finally bringing him to the breaking point, this visible just from the call. Even when he had been saying that he was okay, he had broken off in coughing fits, a nurse consoling him. Death wasn’t too far off for my old man.
So, I knew that I would have to come visit him; to say goodbye to the one family member I had left before it was too late. Yet, to do that, I would have to leave the house. And to sum up while it was such a big problem, I’ll say this: I haven’t left the house in five years.
At twenty I had moved out from my parent’s house, determined to get a job as a photographer and to be free. Though, I found out that this world is dangerous: filled with dangerous people, dangerous things, and pain. So much pain. After that, I couldn’t bring myself to venture outside of my house. The only way I got through was because of my dad and the money he sends me monthly. It’s not like I want to live off of him, but I’m just afraid to venture back out into the open world. Guess Giant’s delivery was more of a help then I originally thought.
But all jokes aside, it’s scary. Having to go outside to a place that your terrified of, but, I don’t want my father to die ashamed of me or without knowing that I love him, enough to go to him in that hospital. Even though he had told me “Seth, stay home where you feel safe,” I wanted to go. If not for me, then for him. So, I took the first step: I got up to get ready.
I got my ass off the bed and stood, taking in a deep breath before setting my phone on the covers of my bed, putting my game face on. I even considered saying “let’s do this” but I wasn’t necessarily in the mood for laughs.
So, I went to the dresser, opening one of the drawers to pull out some jeans, some boxers, a shirt, and a roll of socks. I then changed, pulling on each one before going into the bathroom to fix myself up and see if this was a good outfit for my first time outside in five years. Maybe if I looked decent people wouldn’t do anything.
I looked in the mirror to see, well, me. I looked at the navy blue v-neck I had on, this followed by some black jeans, ripped up and clinging to my legs. I then let my gaze travel back to the mirror to take in my appearance, and it was scary, to say the least.
I did my hair, styling it so one eye was slightly covered and then ruffling it up with my fingertips, also shaking my hair a bit. This was then followed by putting on some black converses and then my leather jacket. I looked in the mirror again, taking in everything and giving a nod of approval. My black hair, originally a dark brown before I dyed it, looked nice with my blue eyes which almost had an icy effect to it. I looked at myself for a moment and smiled softly, at the thought of seeing my father. I knew that some people would scorn upon my look, but it made it the tiniest bit better knowing that my father didn’t care, even though I was a guy and dressed like this.
I then packed a bag, stuffing in clothes that would last me a week. I then picked up the backpack, slinging the strap over my shoulder while I walked to my door.
Then everything just seemed to stop.
All I could hear was the people that told me I’d always fail in life, the constant turn downs for jobs, and my father sighing in the phone when I said I still hadn’t left the house. I could see the people that had always picked on me, the fact that I never proved them wrong hitting me hard. Then the incident, that one incident that had pushed me over the edge. For a minute there, I could remember it, the fear, the pain but I quickly pushed it down. No, no, stop it.
I opened the door then, walking out and closing it rather quickly.
I think the only reason I didn’t fall apart was because I was focused on my father, knowing that I had to see him. I mean, I had already booked a room at a nearby hotel. I couldn’t back out now. Probably because of that, the trip to the hospital took a while; it was rather fuzzy the whole time. Even walking into the hospital I felt num, yet at the same time I couldn’t breathe. All of this stopped when I walked into Dad’s hospital room.
He lay in his bed, head rested against the hard pillow, his eyes closed. His skin was pale, so unlike the tan skin he once had. His body was also rather bony, him being him; he didn’t have much of an appetite and feeling not so well probably made him loose most of it. He just looked so … different. Especially with the tube, split in two at one spot, that was feeded into his nose, pumping in oxygen. So sick, so fragile.
As if sensing my presence, Dad looked over; eyes now opened to show his grassy green eyes, which now seemed so dull. Yet, his lips turned upward when he saw me. “Hello, son,” he mumbled.
I slowly walked over, pulling up a chair to sit beside him. I gently took one of his thin hands, holding it gently. “Hi, Dad.”
“Look at you, how big you’ve gotten but, I know how you feel about … this. You didn’t have to come here.”
That’s when I looked him in the eyes, holding his hand a little tighter as I leaned closer. “Dad, if it’s for you, then I’ll face my fears if I can be here beside you.” I said this, calm on the outside even though I was freaking out in the inside.
Though, when I said this it seemed as if a little more light came back to my father. He seemed much more alive and even if it was just a bit, it lightened the a little weight in my heart.