The Longest Hours

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic


My perception of the day of my father's passing.. Time. “The system of those sequential relations that any event has to any other, as past, present, or future.” This particular day would
dramatically alter Sam’s and Haley’s perception of this word, this system that we created. After all, time does not exist.

Submitted: August 06, 2018

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Submitted: August 06, 2018

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Time. “The system of those sequential relations that any event has to any other, as past, present, or future.”  This particular day would dramatically alter Sam’s and Haley’s perception of this word, this system that we created. After all, time does not exist. 

On this particular summer day in the outer Cape, Sam continued sleeping through her younger sister, Haley’s, departure for work, since she did not have to work her second job that morning. Waking only to the sun rays shining through the minute slits in the window shades, Sam sits up checking her phone- 11:27am. Perfect! Just enough time to get ready for work at noon. Leaving ten minutes before her shift begins she arrives just in time to notice the line of people waiting for the store to open.

12:00. Time to open the doors. The manager approaches and people push their way past her small stature, rushing for the cooler and shelves in order to purchase their alcohol for a perfect beach day. Sam rushes back and forth restocking the cooler, and jumps on the second register when needed, while the manager restocks all the wine and liquor purchases.

Finally slowing down shortly before 2:00PM, Sam pulls out her cellphone and checks her messages. She notices one peculiar text she received from her older sister back home, slightly over three hours away. It read, ‘call me asap’. This worried Sam tremendously so she called her sister immediately.

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring..that was all Sam could focus on. ‘What happened,’ she thinks to herself, ‘and why isn’t she answering’. Pick up. Pick up. As soon as the ringing stops it goes to voicemail and she hangs up. Damn. Seconds, which seem like minutes, hours, pass by until Sam receives a phone call back. She frantically pushes the send button to answer the call and asks “what’s wrong?” All she could get out of her older sister was “mom doesn’t want me to say until both you and Haley are together”.

“Why? We’re both working what happened? Tell me. You can’t tell someone to call you and not say why.” Her older sister could sense her frustration and slight panic, but just restated “she wants you together.” Fine. Sam hung up the phone and asked her manager if she could leave for ten minutes. After confirmation, she rushed to her car and drove the short distance to Haley’s job.

At five of two Sam arrives and asks her sister if she can take a quick break, however, Haley states that her shift ends in five minutes and that she will stop by on her way to their summer home after she clocks out. Sam agrees and heads back to work. Time passes slowly. What is taking her so long? Sam looks at the clock. 2:12. She looks back into the parking lot and notices Haley pull in. Finally. Sam explains the situation to Haley, so they go around the side of the building and make the phone call. “Mom? What happened?” She doesn’t receive the answer she wants but hears her mother ask if she and Haley are together. “Yes. Now tell us. You’re on speaker.”

“Dad’s dead.”

Time stops. Stunned, Sam asks “What”, even though she heard exactly what her mother had stated. “Your dad passed away this morning. I want you home” Sam gets dizzy, the world spins around her and Haley and only they exist in that moment. Crying, she disconnects the call. Holding each other, they both collapse to the pavement, tears streaming down their faces. Strong. They gather themselves and stand up. What now?

They make plans to head back home. Red-faced and teary-eyed, Sam walks back into the liquor store, explains the situation to her manager and leaves. They embark on their three hour long car ride back home. Driving with nothing but the sound of surrounding traffic and the faint radio, Haley falls asleep in the passenger seat. Erratic thoughts rush through Sam’s mind throughout the lengthy trip. She wishes to be there at that moment, but also dreads seeing what await them.

Arriving at the hospital around 6:00PM, Sam pulls in the emergency entrance lot and parks, waking her sister. They sit in the car for a brief moment before taking a breath and opening their doors to head inside. After speaking with the receptionist, they wait for the mortician to lead them to the morgue to view their father’s lifeless body. They notice a woman in a lab coat approach and know right away- this is it. She explains the appearance of the corpse and asks both Sam’s and Haley’s assurances that they still want to see him. They agree and stand, following the mortician into the large hospital elevator, going down, down, seemingly to the gates of hell.

After disembarking the cold elevator, they approach an uninviting door and are told by the mortician to wait outside briefly so she can prepare the body for viewing. A few minutes later, the door reopens and the sisters are called into the room. They pause for a moment and enter cautiously, sighting the body directly to the left as they walk in. Eyes wide, all they can do is stare, millions of questions form and run through their minds, but their mouths stay shut, no words are spoken. Their mouths go dry and they feel the tears starting to form before blinking them away. The mortician scrambles for a tissue, only finding one paper towel she tears it and hands each sister a half. They just hold the crumpled piece in their fists, shocked at their father’s appearance, the man they held so dear, numb to the emotions, they become stern-faced. Turning their heads, they nod, telling the mortician they are ready to leave. They walk out of the cold room, looking behind them, burning the gruesome sight into their minds, knowing this will be the last time they ever see their dad.

The mortician escorts them back to the emergency room lobby and offers her condolences before the girls thank her for her time and leave.

Sam and Haley remain silent during their journey back home, arriving shortly before seven. They enter the once homely apartment, apprehensive to partake in the ongoing conversation. Aware of their long drive back to their summer home, they talk with their mother, sister, and grandmother briefly before stating they have to leave. Their mother expresses her concern, saying she wants them to stay the night. Stubbornly, both Haley and Sam refuse, informing her that they are returning to work the following morning. Before leaving, they hug their mother, sister, and grandmother, and articulate their goodbyes.

They reach their final destination at approximately 11:00PM. Entering their summer home, they head straight to bed, lying next to each other, preparing for the restless hours that lay ahead.


© Copyright 2018 Amber Skye. All rights reserved.

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