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I stare at the hospital bed in awe. The man I call my father has lost weight since I saw him last. A lot of weight. I can see his bones trying to break through his pale skin. His arms are almost as thin as mine and he has lost almost all his muscle mass. Purple veins can be seen, covering every inch of his skin. I try to move but my body is frozen. Is this how it will end? I can't stand the though of losing him.
My father was always my super hero. The one I looked up to. I remember him saying he would do anything for me. He said he would jump in front of a train for me. I remember taking his old red van up to the cottage. We would listen to country music and roll the windows down, letting the warm wind blow through our hair.
His favorite band is Nickleback. My mom hates them and so does everyone else on this earth apparently, but I don't mind listening to him try to sing to the lyrics even if they aren't musically talented at all. We would talk about what we would do if we were to win the lottery in the future. His answer was always, buy a new boat, renovate the cottage, retire and move to Florida. He loves his cottage and loves the boat even more, although its old. I think it's from the 70's. It was my grand father's and my father has grown on to it and still has it running till this day.
I am knocked out of my thoughts of the past and brought back to present by a cold hand resting on my shoulder. I turn around to see Niall, his cheeks rosy. "Hey" is all he says before I can stop the tears running down my cheeks. He rubs the small of my back, trying to comfort me. Although it's not helping, I am thankful for his kind gesture.
I hear a groan from what remains of my father. Niall takes me by the hand gently and leads me closer to my father. Niall holds me tight once my father is in arms reach. The frail man on the bed blows through his nostrils and I know he is fighting. Fighting for his life. I can't imagine the world without him.
Through the corner of my eye, I can see Niall's eyes water up but I don't bother looking back at him. I have only seen him cry, well water up, once before. On our 4th month anniversary, he slipped on the ice and dislocated his shoulder. We were on a skiing trip in Vancouver, Canada. We went to visit my cousins there. They live near Whistler, which I think was the skiing place for the winter Olympics a few years back.
The boy I grew to love closes the space between us and gives me a tight hug. I hear him mumble "I'm sorry."
I let go of Niall and kneel beside the hospital bed and start to lightly run my index finger over my father's knuckles. The only sound in the room is the beeping of the monitors and fancy technology, powering my father's life. I hear foot steps behind me, the sound fades, getting lighter and lighter until I hear the hospital door close. "Turn it on." My father's low gasping voice startles me. I have no idea what he is talking about. Is he hallucinating?
He must have understood my confusion and tries to point towards the small black retro radio on a table covered with "Get Better Soon" cards and flowers across from his bed. I nod and reach over, pressing the Power button. I try to turn the wobbling knob to a country station, but he stops me, "Keep it, I like this song." Of course he likes this song. It's about someone having to say goodbye, telling them their mistakes. I feel like this is a music video. I sit cross legged by his side holding onto my emotions and stare into my father's bloodshot light blue eyes. We listen to the lyrics as we keep eye contact.
Say something, I'm giving up on you.
I'm sorry that I couldn't get to you.
Anywhere I would've followed you.
Say something, I'm giving up-
I turn the radio off before I start to sob in front of him. I feel a knot in my throat. I can't cry. I can't show him it's the end. It can't be. All the times he has told me about being a grand father, walking me down the aisle, helping me build a house and keep him company when he retires, will be gone. He looks at me and I break down. Tears flood my cheeks. I let them fall. I can't hide from this any more. I managed last time he was in this position, but then again, it wasn't as bad as it is now.
The cancer first came to him when I was 5. I was confused why daddy always had to stay away for the night. Then he started to stay here day and night. I wasn't allowed to see him as often as I wished because I was so young. I remember mum telling me dad is working. Working for his life is what she meant I guess.
The Hospital is about a 15 minute walk from our house, on a good day. My bus stop is on the other side of the street from this life saver of an institution. It's my second home. It sounds weird, yes, but I have spent most of my child hood here. After my father's cancer fighting for the first time, which lasted a year, my brother was born and he almost had a heart failure, so I stayed a lot with my parents here. And now, back to cancer again. But only 500 times worst.
The cancer has spread so fast, the doctor's said there isn't much they can do about it. I know it's coming. But I can't tell him. I look up. He smiles at me, telling me he knows.
He rolls his eyes back and closes his eyelids. I can see his body glistening from the sweat coming from his body. I get up quickly and reach for his hand. It's holding a rolled up paper. He shifts his body and grabs my hand, letting the paper roll off his body. I turn the radio back on to hear the last line of the sappy yet beautiful song as he speaks his final words.