If you scroll down the “Home” page of my blog, you’ll reach a section called “Go back in time.” Keep scrolling and you’ll end at July 2008. Click any month and read what thoughts ran through my head at that point in my life. Good luck finding May 2011, though. That month, for me, is not represented in cyberspace.
May 2011 is the only month missing out of that entire list. Usually I wrote at least one post to get a month recognized and clickable. I wasn’t worried about my blog last May. I was worried about my papa.
It’s been over a year. Crazy, yet true. May 19 marked the anniversary of that dreadful day.
My dad answered the phone. Mom told him to leave as soon as possible; she didn’t think it would be much longer. We slowly, methodically gathered our things and discussed what vehicle we would have to take to Dunkirk (Bubbles was the only available option).
I pulled on one shirt, shook my head, took it off, put another one on. Fixed my hair. Put on my locket. I wanted Robby with me in spirit (I didn’t think anyone but family should go to the hospital to see Papa). I looked in the mirror one last time, flipped off the light and started the descent down the stairs. Halfway down, the home phone rang.
Dad answered it. “No… no… no…,” he said, sobbing. I couldn’t breathe. I was little again. One of my brothers punched me in the stomach and knocked the wind out of me. Couldn’t breathe.
Somehow, I made it down the stairs and found Trevor’s arms. He held me and sobbed.
I didn’t even care that Trevor was braking hard and taking off too fast. Familiar streets, houses and road signs whizzed by in a tear-stained blur. The country roads and homes weren’t friendly, the stars weren’t twinkling. Adam didn’t say a word next to me in the backseat. Dad and Trevor sniffled here and there. I sobbed and couldn’t stop. I used my hands and arms as tissues.
His lifeless form took up the bed in the Emergency Room. Mouth still open, organs still not quite cool from their 87 straight years of use. The pale shell used to be my Papa.
I didn’t go to school for a week. I had a track meet the day after his death. Robby sobbed in my arms beforehand. He drove me down to the track. We both wore sunglasses on the bus to hide our swollen eyes. People shot us sympathetic looks. My best friend and ex boyfriend somehow got Robby and me to laugh. That day was one hurdle after the other. I ran for Papa. I didn’t win like I had the year before at the same meet, but I ran for him. That meant something.
I used to pretend Papa was still over at their house, down the street and around the corner. Right now he’d be sleeping in his ‘do rag, but in the morning, he’d sit at the table with unpredictable, white bedhead and go about his business in a slow, organized manner.
He’s not over there as a whole person anymore. Now he’s in a box under his nightstand, waiting to be buried. Waiting for closure.
We’re all waiting for closure.
Still, traces of him show up unexpectedly. Like the alcohol pad in our mud room when we got home last weekend. The Volkswagen Beetles that appear on the road when I’m thinking about him. The splotches in my graduation pictures.
He’s still here even though he’s gone.
I miss you.