What hurt the most was not Ma abandoning me but it was seeing you in ruins from her abandoning you.
When you walked into my room, your steps were heavy but so was your heart. I could feel it breaking– no, it was shattering into tiny fragments. You sat next to me on my bed and just broke down. I didn’t know what to feel. What could I have felt? I was the child, the piece, between the both of you that eternally connected you and her. I was in the middle of a broken relationship and soon I learned it was much more than just that. I was in between two broken people, two broken hearts. So I just sat there re-winding my memories over and over again. Perhaps you were too.
Every day of my childhood, you would smile and laugh for me. You acted as if nothing was wrong for me– for my feelings. From that day on, I realized looking into the mirror, how much I looked like you and her together. I share your brown eyes and my adolescent face was shaping to resemble yours, but I have Ma’s straight red hair. Every time I saw my reflection from then on, I subconsciously would take a pill.
I wanted to be the best for you. Every day I could hear you coming home from work and weeping in your room before and after dinner. You still tried to hold a smile for me as long as you could.
You would give me a smile when I would bring home my report card with straight A’s.
You smiled when I started playing baseball.
You smiled when you realized I was the star of my baseball team.
You smiled when I also joined the swim team.
You smiled when you saw that I placed in the top of my state.
You smiled when I smiled.
You even smiled when there wasn’t anything to smile about.
If I didn’t know any better, I would say you were happy. But every time you smiled I saw your eyes become glassy. A similar kind of glassy that twinkled in Ma’s eyes. They were eyes of a truly sad person. I know you wanted to be happy. You forced a smile because you wanted that happiness so badly. It was out of your reach though. And you knew it was, which only deepened your sadness even more.
I thought that perhaps I wasn’t good enough to make you happy. I didn’t understand.
I wouldn’t exactly say I was depressed at this time though. Or maybe I was but I filled my days in studying and activities instead of… the things I did to end up here.
I remember one morning, I know you don’t though, when I woke up early before school. I heard a couple of thumping sounds. Grandma slept downstairs so she couldn’t have heard it. My legs compelled me into your room.
I opened your cricking door.
“Dad,” I said looking down. Then I heard a banging sound against the wall.
I panicked, what was I going to do? I ran to the phone and called the ambulance. I was instructed to hold you down. Now they say not to do that though but back then things were different. I tried to hold you down the best I could. You were flopping all over the place. The bed shook with fiery. My head pounded. My heart sank.
The paramedics came up and took you. I couldn’t breathe. I was really dizzy and flush. They asked if I wanted to ride to the hospital with you but I declined and let Grandma take my place.
She told me to wait and she will come back and bring me to the hospital in a few hours.
I paced the empty house thinking about the dinners we had every night, and how every Friday night we played cards, and just how supportive you were with everything I did. But then something inside me boiled up. It was sort of the feeling of guilt. I was guilty of being a burden. I doubted my presence.
Actually, I still kind of feel the bubbles sizzling even now; I doubt my presence. You never directly made me feel like I was meshed inside a shattered world but seeing you drag your feet in this world, pretending as if you are okay, drained my serenity.
I froze and went into the bathroom and stared in the mirror for a minute. Then I opened the cabinet, took out a small container of pills, and took a couple of the capsules. They eased my mind. Then I stuffed it in my pocket as Grandma called me down to visit you.
I walked through the hall corridors, not only was my reflection pale but so was my vitality of being in this world. I was confused. No, I still am. It has only grown more rapid since I was 16 years old.
I looked at you. You were sleeping. Tubes and cords were attached to your body from machines. You kind of looked peaceful for a second. Then your doctor walked in.
I interrupted, “What do you mean? He doesn’t–”
Grandma glanced over to me and then back at the doctor, and said to him, “Continue.”
I left the room. I didn’t know you had epilepsy. It frustrated me not knowing things. You never talked about the bad things. You never talked about problems. At this age, it drove me crazy how I am left out in the dark about everything.
I leaned against the wall and stuffed my hands into my pockets. Then I realized I had a bottle of pills into my pocket. I took another few capsules. It eased my mind.
You were going to live, that’s all that mattered,