Virginia, United States
I heard the paper crinkle on top of the cold, plastic coated exam table, as I sat up when the doctor entered the room. I didn’t think much of why we were here,
I feel fine,
I'm always fine.
I put in my earbuds, being I had no interest in what they were saying, isolating all sound around me except for the staticky music that blasted through the speakers.
A new noise entered the bubble I had created for myself in an instance. Glancing up at my mom, I couldn’t help but notice the warm tears swiftly rolling down her cheeks, being absorbed by her gray, woolen skirt, and leaving dark circles behind. I feel my heart rate elevate slightly. “Mom cries over everything, there’s nothing to worry about,” I told myself, I convinced myself.
In that moment, I felt inclined to shift my focus towards Dad, his eyes glistening. Immediately, I disconnected my earbuds and let that bubble pop, seeking to understand the clamour that enveloped the room. Perhaps it was the shock that had suddenly swallowed me whole, but I couldn’t quite seem to make out what they were saying. What I did know, however, was that I heard my fathers voice shake when he was speaking. He was trying to hide the fear lingering in his eyes, although his attempt had failed. As I was studying his efforts, I remembered a phrase he always used to say to me when I was panicking, “The only reason you should be worried is if I’m worried.” Well…
The car ride home that afternoon was silent, my parents weren’t talking or laughing in the usual way they did, the radio was shut off, and even the windows were rolled up, resulting in the constant honking of horns and screaming of sirens a few blocks away seeming nonexistent.
“Is anyone hungry?” My dad began, breaking the silence as we passed an exit for McDonald’s. Thereafter hearing that, a million thoughts flooded through my mind, still the loudest echo was a simple question,
“How?” How could my Dad be thinking about food at a time like this? I was still processing what happened, but I know it was bad, he knows it was bad. Only 20 minutes ago he was putting on a brave face for my mother, but now he’s asking about food?
All of my painful thoughts came to a halt quickly when I heard a giggle from Mom. The giggle quickly morphed into a hysterical laughter, but nothing about it sounded like she was joyful. She has always been honest with us when we were in rough waters, nevertheless, she kept her composure. Mom was beyond acceptance, and I had never seen her worse than I did at that moment.
Dad did nothing, but proceeded to take his hand in hers, the two exchanging a pleading look. With the ride fading into silence once again, there was a new energy it possessed. it was
We’ll beat this, together.
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