Monday, May 19, 2008

Journaling at 18

July 24, 2002
8:10 a.m.

I'm at my usual place, behind a table marked by a bristol-board sign with smeared Crayola artwork across it. Just like yesterday. But yesterday, as I was impatiently waiting for parents to remove their children from the premises so that I could leave to endure the agony of dress shopping, a little 6-year-old boy, Simon*, limping after having a cast removed from his weak little leg, sat down beside me and broke my heart. He wasn't trying to get a sympathetic reaction, is just seemed that the death of his father was the only logical conversation topic his young mind could conjure up. So I listened. It all started with him briefly mentioning that the reason his mom was picking him up all the time was because his dad was dead. I was reactionless. I had no strength to move a single muscle in my face that might force an expression of kindness or love. I didn't like the imposing silence, so I asked him when he died. Three months ago. He was 6 then, as he is now. Only now he's fatherless, and the age of 6 will loom over his precious head and haunt his big blue eyes for a long time.

His mom asked his dad how he felt at work that day. "Fine" was the response, and it was most likely an honest one. That evening, Simon was in his room, waiting for his dad to come in and give him a hug. He never came. He collapsed on the floor of the master bedroom, a heart attack stealing the only hug a little boy will ever want but never have.

Last time they saved him. "They" being the paramedics and "last time" being a heart attack that didn't rob a family of joy. Now I understand the frantic desperation behind the eyes of Simon's mother, the sadness that contradicts her forced smile.

Simon was too scared to look at his father, dead on the floor. He was afraid that if he entered the room, he, too, would fall down and die.

That's what I felt like doing.

*name has been changed.

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