I Blame It On My Father

A story about Petal, a young blue headed woman working through her family drama and most importantly dealing with her "daddy issues" which have affected her life and relationships so much. On her journey, she struggles with forgiveness, her mother's mental illness and vulnerability in relationships. She did not know that a broken relationship with a father could have such dire consequences. Things become worse, much worse before they become better. A story about hope, love, patience and forgiveness.

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12. Chapter 12

The ambulance came in about thirty minutes. Nomu was not dead yet, Petal had loosened the belt, but she needed to be resuscitated immediately. Petal got into the back of the ambulance in tears. Hunn was going to meet her at the hospital. She had stood in shock when the paramedics removed the belt for around her mother's neck, fiddled with her body and attached some oxygen then hoisted her onto a stretcher. It was when they pushed the stretcher out the door that Petal kind of snapped out of it and managed to grab her wallet and phone and leave with them. She had been able to answer the basic questions about her mother. How old she was, if she was on medication and so on, but more than that she could not speak.

The ambulance sped through the traffic and in no time they were at the hospital. After filling in the admission papers, Petal was met by a heavily pregnant Hunn.

"Sweetheart...." Her arms wide open she walked over to Petal. Petal hugged her (and the unborn baby). She felt that Hunn's long ponytail was wet. This situation reminded Petal of the last emergency which involved her mother. After the shooting, Petal had been to the police station and then she had met with the detective and the prosecutor. She had attended court alone and had been visiting her mother at Sunshine City alone. She remembered cleaning up the house after Blunt was taken to the hospital and she could remember clearly the sickening metallic smell of the blood that she mopped up for what felt like hours. She did not want to go through this alone. Right now she trusted Hunn more than anyone and she really needed a friend.

"Let's get some tea and sit down, we may be here for a while." Hunn gently pushed Petal along towards the hospital café. There the two women sat drinking a Ceylon blend because there was no chamomile or rooibos. (There was no caffeine free or herbal tea at a hospital!)

"I just couldn't let him be there in a situation which was so personal for me, I just couldn't." Petal told Hunn. Hunn looked at her with great concern on her face. She spun the tea cup in her hand and then looked at Petal straight in the eyes.

"Petal, he wants to help and he wants to be there for you. Not to be your hero but to be... to be a shoulder you can lean on, to be supportive. If he did not love you he would not even bother to be helpful - he would run whenever things got dramatic." She took a breath. "Look honey, love is risky business you need to trust him and trust your love and realise that you cannot control everything. He is a good man and you will lose him if you do not sort yourself out."

Petal looked away. "I do not want to be needy."

"You are not being needy, you are being human. You give but you need to learn to receive. It takes more courage to open up and let yourself receive help and love. You are one of the most reliable people that I know but you do not ask for help easily."

Petal looked down at the table and a blob hit the table.

"Hey." Hunn reached over and held her hand.

Malik was shaken up. He had been driving around trying to clear his head. He did not understand what had happened. He did not want to continue like this. He felt like he was in a tug of war with Petal. Most of the time the relationship was really good, but whenever it got personal Petal pulled away while he was trying to pull her close. He could not do this anymore. He could not make her love him the way that he loved her. It was not worth investing in someone who was not willing to put in the work which was needed to make their relationship work. But, he loved her. He wanted to let go but he really did love her. He did not want to save her because he couldn't even if he wanted to. He just wanted a proper and complete relationship. She was going through a tough time, he could not possibly leave her at a time like this. He continued to drive around with the radio off.

Petal was worried about her mother now. She was worried because mommy had tried to kill herself and she wanted to know why. She wanted to make sure that it would not happen again and she was worried that maybe mommy would never fully recover. The doctor had mentioned that there could be brain damage because of lack of oxygen to the brain during the strangulation. He said that Nomu would need to remain in hospital for a few more days or longer. He also suggested that she return to the mental health hospital for another month. He reassured Petal that there would be a social worker who would be assigned to assist them. This was all quite depressing. Things were starting to get better. What good was a social worker? All they could do was observe and suggest things, but they could not cure mommy or .... Hunn had gone home, Petal insisted - she was not going to let an eight month pregnant woman spend the night sitting on a hospital bench. So Petal got up and went to the ladies room. She found a vacant toilet and locked herself in it. She closed the seat using tissue paper and sat on it. She closed her eyes.

"Dear God. I do not know what to do. I feel broken. Please help me. Please I am asking in the name of Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit... huh, I just don't feel like a very nice person and I do not feel very strong anymore. I cannot do this alone, I cannot do life alone."

Petal did not know what to do. She did not know whether to go home or not, it was going to be hard to sleep in the room where mommy had tried to end her life in. She could not chat with Malik and Hunn had gone home. It was late but she did not have any sleep. She knew she had to sleep though, because she had to work the next day. "Maybe I should cancel work. I will call in and let them know that mommy is hospitalised." She thought to herself. But what to do now? She wished she could go for a run, but it was so late. Maybe she would go for a walk instead. It was no use staying at the hospital right now. The paramedics were rushing in and out with people on stretchers, crutches and wheelchairs. There was a line of patients waiting to be diagnosed and attended to. The hospital was crazy at night and the paramedics, doctors, nurses and general hospital staff looked exhausted. Petal could not stay here. She would come back the next day during visiting hours.

Petal walked out of the hospital grounds and down the street. Even as she walked out there was an ambulance speeding in, red light flashing and siren going - the things that happen in the night time!

As she walked down the street she thought about how she would not be able to be a doctor or work in a hospital. The gross bodily fluids and odours, the mushy textures, sick men and women and sick babies and children, people dying... it was not a very light hearted profession. No wonder doctors have no sense of humour - they always look so serious. She was grateful that she had never had to be hospitalised. The last time she was in a hospital as a patient was when she was born 27 years ago, and thank God for that. She did not want to think about mommy or Malik. She really just wanted to fall into a deep and dreamless sleep. She saw a taxi and decided to go home and sleep.

It had not been a dreamless sleep but when Petal awoke in the morning, she could not remember her dream or dreams. The hospital visiting hours were from 2PM until 4PM. She had scheduled for her phone to deliver a message to her manager and colleague at 6:30AM because she knew that she would not wake up until after 9. When she walked into the apartment last night, she blocked any thoughts about mommy and the suicide attempt. She made herself some chamomile and washed her face and brushed her teeth then went straight to bed. At least it was not a bloody suicide attempt - everything looked in order. But what had happened to the belt? Did the paramedics take it? She did not remember, but it was not in the apartment. About an hour after she woke up she received a video call from Lilo. Everything was fine with her and the locals were really friendly, she was working hard and sometimes they had very little resources. After their conversation Petal singed up online to donate to the cause via debit order, it was a small amount every month. They did not talk about Vector and Petal did not mention mommy and the suicide attempt, it was a pretty general conversation. Petal noticed that Lilo looked a little bit thinner, maybe it was the video quality - camera subtracting ten pounds.

Petal had not bothered to call Vector in a long time. He had not responded to her messages and calls so she stopped trying. He had not bothered to contact her either. So... guess that was that then, the end of their relationship. But she had to contact Malik. Hunn had said some thought provoking things last night. But, what would she say to him? How would she start? If it were her she would have just given up on herself by now. If she were Malik. She decided to call him after her visit to mommy.

The hospital was not as full as the previous night. It took about fifteen minutes for Petal to be attended and for her to finally see her mother. In line she sat chatting to a young mother who was going to see her sixteen year old son who had just had an open heart surgery just the other day. He was stabbed in the chest by an older boy for standing up for his friend. The mother was saying how it was a miracle that he survived because he lost pools of blood in minutes. "Wow that is just amazing." Petal responded. She truly was starting to believe again that God really was working in the lives of ordinary people like herself. This made her eager to see mommy recover. However, when she saw mommy.... The bed looked too big for her tiny frame. Petal should have guessed since she was directed to the Intensive Care Unit and she saw the "PLEASE WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE ENTERING" sign. There were tubes and machines everywhere. Mommy was not awake. Petal just stood and looked at her, watching her breathe through tubes. A nurse came in and Petal asked her what was wrong. "She will need to be here for a while. Let me get her doctor so he can talk to you OK."

The doctor was a middle aged man with a greying beard. He looked wise. He explained that the major blood vessels in Nomu's neck had ruptured and therefore the blood flow to the head was affected and she had a stroke. She had an operation early in the morning, the doctor added that she was lucky to have survived this far which meant that she was discovered early. This was very unsettling. Petal wanted to know if her mother would survive. The doctor explained that they needed more time to observe her breathing and brain function without the machines. The doctor did not seem like he was certain that mommy would be fine but he did not seem certain that mommy would not make it. This really made it hard for Petal to know how to feel. She called her manager and explained that her mother was in hospital and requested to have another day off. There was no way Petal was ready for work.

The world seemed gloomy, the loneliness was suffocating. Life did not seem happy or fair and God felt completely distant. Petal went to a park not too far from the hospital. It was an overcast midday. The park was empty save for a couple of hobos - one was having lunch from the dustbin near the entrance and the other was having a nap under a tree near the monkey bars. There were also some pigeons grouped near the merry-go-round close to the bench that Petal was sitting at. There was a pack of wheat biscuits in her bag she remembered. She pulled it out and began to break one into pieces and throw it at the birds. She sighed.

"Oh don't be so gloomy." A strange voice croaked.

"What! Who said that?" Petal looked around startled

"Down here!"

She looked down to see a pigeon at her feet, but surely that was not where the voice had come from. She scanned the area again but all she saw was the hobo minding its business by the entrance and the hobo taking a nap. Maybe she was hearing things.

"Lady, I said down here!" Goodness, it was the bird, but how?

"Did... did you just talk to me?" Oh goodness now she was talking to birds at the park, must be some kind of post-traumatic stress thing.

"Err, yes. Talking bird - big deal." He sounded annoyed.

"Sure big deal, because everybody talks to birds once in a while." Petal still could not believe that she was having a conversation with an animal.

"Hey, I see you have a lot on your mind. Just wanted to tell you not to stress so much. It's really not good for digestion."

"O.K?"

"What is on your mind anyway?" The bird flew over and stood right next to Petal on the bench. She noticed that the bird's beak was not moving when it spoke, so maybe this was all in her head.

"Um... many things. I just have many things going wrong and I hope that they all work out. Things are out of control."

"And work out they will. (He almost sang that sentence) Look at me, I just live stress free. Sometimes I find that my homes have been torn down or the weather is not good for flying or that my home has been torn down while the babies were in there. You do not see me moping around. Things always work out. Life is life, change is inevitable, nothing lasts, we adapt. So chin up now will you."

Petal was getting life advice from a bird who was real or in her head and he was saying words like "inevitable"... maybe mommy's mental health condition had affected her as well, maybe it was genetic. She looked at the bird and shook her head then she inhaled deeply and looked out into the distance.

"Change is inevitable." She reiterated in a whisper.

"Yep, and you need to adjust and trust that things will work out." The bird jumped down from the bench. "Got to go. Hey how about another biscuit for me and my folks before you leave?" Petal took another biscuit, broke it into pieces and began to throw it to the flock. The bird flew back to the group and resumed eating small stones and wheat biscuit crumbs.

"That was weird." Petal thought. She got up off the park bench and walked to the bus stop. It was time she spoke to Malik properly, face to face. Next stop - Malik's workplace!

 

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