Sunday, July 11, 2021

#HardestThing

During an application for a scholarship, I was faced with this hardly-innocuous query:

Write about the hardest thing you've ever done.

I didn't think. Simply tapped a finger in the text box and began slugging away with my injured thumbs:

The hardest thing I've done is the easiest to write about, and the underlying topic of every piece of fiction I pen; losing my father. He was stolen from my life at age nine by choices all his own, and it's as if my fully-formed memories stop there. Everything that's taken place afterward feels like a lucid dream, and I've been in that dream-state for the past fifteen years. His loss might not have been as abrupt and jarring, if I had not been kept in the dark about the severity of his illness. I was allowed to coast happily through the beginning of 4th grade without a care in the world, not having an inkling my father wouldn't make it to Christmas. My mother attempted to shield me from the horrors of reality, and when the time finally came for us to face it together; she choked, leaving my half-sister to blather on something asthenine about Angels and my father being one of them, ready to spread his wings.

Confused. Devastated. But mostly numb, I rode to the hospital I'd stopped visiting because there had seemed no point. I'd see dad when he came home. Why bother to visit?

No one forced me to go. Explained we might have little time. I barely saw him, then said goodbye to his eyes because he was intubated. I cried, I apologized, rode home in silence, and my mother never mentioned it again.

I found his urn two years later.

Love Always,

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