When will I wake up?
Fuuuuuck, can the minutes tick away any slower? C’mon! I knew that I should’ve bailed on this class today. It’s okay. I’m parked right outside, so if I haul ass as soon as we’re done, I can get there and spend a few minutes with him, and still get to work by six o’clock. …enough about St. Peter’s Basilica and its buttresses, dude. Let’s wrap this shit up already.
Taconic or Hutch? Taconic. No, the Hutch – definitely the Hutch.
You’ve gotta be kidding me. Traffic!? Typical. Fuck.
[On my archaic – even for the late ‘90s – cell phone]
Me: Hey, mom, I’m not going to make it to the hospital. I’m stuck in traffic – and I have to work at six.
Mom: It’s okay. He’s okay. Go to work.
Me: I’ll go in the morning. Will he still be there, or is he being sent home tomorrow?
Mom: They did more tests today – said he might go home tomorrow. Don’t know yet.
Me: Okay, see you in the morning.
[That evening at work]
Coworker: Joe, phone call.
Uncle: Joseph, can you leave work?
Me: …um, yeah, why?
Uncle: Dad…dad’s taken a turn for the worse. You should come. Now.
Helicopter? Rocket? Teleportation? I don’t know how I got to the hospital so fast, but I’m here. Where are the elevators!? [Pushing “3” a thousand times…] Hurry up! C’mon! …oh no. No. No-no no noooo… [Before the elevator even reached the third floor, I could hear the crying – the hysterical crying.]
I was too late. My father was gone.
+ + + + + + + + +
My father died 12 years ago. I didn’t speak to him on that day. I wasn’t at his side in those final hours or moments to tell him that I love him and let him know how much he means to me. I never said “goodbye.”
For the last 12-plus years, I’ve been involuntarily reliving that terrible day often – like a recurring nightmare. Something inexplicable triggers the memory and I find myself getting that call from my uncle, or standing in the lobby of the hospital, or feeling my stomach drop as the elevator arrives on the third floor.
I know that I couldn’t have done anything to change the outcome that day. I just wish that my mind would remind me more often of the many, many, many great times I had with my dad.