Always cherish your time with those you love

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

My step-dad was more of a father than my real father. And just when I started to think that things might look up, my whole world comes crashing down. And now i live these regrets that i can never take back.

"Sometimes a catastrophic can occur in a split second that changes a person's life forever; other times one minor incident can lead to another and them another and another, eventually setting off just as big a change in a body's life."-Jeannette Walls, Half Broke Horses. It was a normal day as any other, expect that day, October 22,2007, instead of going straight to the hospital to see Tom, my mom started driving me to get a hamster! Tom technically acted like more of a dad for me than my own real father. Tom came into mine and my mom's life when I turned about 3, after my grandpa passed, and had not left, unlike my biological father. Sometimes I wish I hadn't gone to the pet store and spent that time with Tom.

Tom was always in the hospital with his bad heart or the cancer, which seemed consumed his life. Whenever he went to the hospital, we would go and see every day until he came home, but that day my mom finally gave into my begging and took me to the pet store. We got there in no time and i rushed from the passenger seat as fast as I could, hoping no one from school would see me jumping out of a rusty green van that smelled the area within 15 feet of straight gasoline. The rust accumulated along all sides of the van and made natural color of green almost vanish. Now that I think back i kind of miss that old van. But I still ran to the store and waited for my ever slow moving mother before I opened the door to a small animal world. Of course as soon as the door opened, I inhaled the rodent hay, animal food and the smelly ferrets. All these odors were accompanied by the loud birds, people talking and dogs barking. I knew exactly where the hamsters were located, in between the fish and the mice along the wall. My mom let me wonder among the smaller creatures. Finally after deciding that hamsters were not the kind of cute animal that I wanted, I talked my mother into a mouse. We got a boy one and I knew at once that i would call him Thomas. I mean the mouse's soft, short brown hair resembled Tom's and at age 10 (almost 11) I was not very creative with names. Mom laughed at me saying Tom might not like that I named a mouse after him but I knew he would not care. The line wasn't bad at all, which I never got because that place would have so many people in there but no one ever seemed to check out. I would like to think maybe they never checked out because they went there to escape from the real outside world, I know that's why I liked it in there. Everything was great, but time flew by and that meant time had come to get back home with my new mouse and then go visit Tom. But that plan altered once we got in the car and mom's abandoned cell phone filled the van with its obnoxious ringing.

I don't know if you have ever got a call from the hospital when something went wrong bit it is probably the most nerve wracking thing ever. At that time I didn't know who was calling my mom's minute phone or why she started the rusty van without completely hanging up and putting on her seat belt. I didn't even know why she started cussing under her breath while tears streamed down her face, it wasn't until those tears were dried and these mumbled words stopped, that I was finally told every insight and word spoken on that phone. But still even without knowing what exactly was going on, I could tell something had gone wrong with something. Mom never drove over the speed limit and especially never so tense. I held tightly to my mouse and tucked him under my seat belt. We were not heading home; nope we were going to opposite way. The only reason we ever went this way was when we went the hospital.

We pulled into the parking lot and my mom cussed because she had to park in the way back. She hopped out of the can and ran over to my side. While she did that I quickly searched for a place to put my mouse so Tom could see him as soon as he got out. I figured mom was crying because he got to go home finally. Mom grabbed my hand and we walked across the lot. Now mom wiped the tears from her face and took deep breaths. She looked much older now; she was only 44 at the time but somehow looked well into her 50's. The automatic sliding doors slid on open and mom tried to pace herself. The hospital was much like the pet store, it was another world for me but it wasn't always a happy world and soon it would never be a happy world for me. Here most the nurses and doctors (especially on the 5th floor which was the cardiac floor) knew me by name and always got me food or whatever I needed. They always seemed to greet me but that day I didn't see any of them as my mom tugged me down the hallway. Tom was emitted into the hospital at least once a month and his heart attacks came more often but he would never take it easy, the house needed money and Tom always knew that. Plus Tom loved working and painting cars, he wouldn't stop doing what he loved because in a way that would mean that he forfeited this battle. I thought about the '57 Chevy he recently painted candy apple red while the elevator took us up five flights. I have never liked how hospitals stunk of old people and puke. Mom hadn't cried since we got into the hospital but the water started back up as soon as we got to Tom's room and he was not there. Mom cried and I asked where Tom was, which only made mom cry harder. The nurse caught sight of my mom and grabbed my mom’s hand. She guided us through a maze of hallways that I didn't even know were there. I later found out Tom was scheduled for a hernia surgery. The nurse brought us into this big open room with curtained off rooms on each side. The nurse pulled two chairs out from the corner and asked if I needed anything and i asked for a soda. She brought a small can of Coca cola with a straw. The doctor came in fast, which I have come to notice is abnormal for a doctor. He talked to my mom and she cried but I didn't fully understand what he had said with his thick accent so I studied the nurse standing further back and she too had watery eyes. Moments later mom stood up and I followed, the doctor pulled the curtains open and revealed Tim laying there. I was happy to see him but my happiness was gone when I noticed he didn't yell hey and open his arms inviting me in for a hug. Instead his body lay motionless and his blue eyes were covered by his eye lids which were taped shut. Even at this time I still did not cry, part of me knew and the other part wished I would wake up from this dream but not a single tear fell. It wasn't until Tom's brothers came that I actually felt the tears coming. When they got there I didn't want to cry for Tom but because I was angry with his brothers, there laid their brother and they didn't cry or show any emotion. Tom's brothers only stayed for a short few, maybe 5 minutes. I don't remember how long we stayed but I know it took a while before mom felt well enough to drive and call into work. I do remember mom intertwining her hand into Tom's. 

To this day I wish we woke up early and went right to Tom. I wish I took more pictures of him, even though he hated pictures. I wish I could remember every detail about the days I spent with him. But out all the regrets and wishes, the one I wish most of all is that I wish I could have spent more time with him. Time is a weird thing and once it is lost, there is no getting it back. Once time is lost there is no finding it. I now try tp cherish every moment (big or small). This one memory might not by my fondest one be it is still clear as day and every detail is still in place, somethings just never fade. 


Submitted: December 22, 2013

© Copyright 2021 Brittney1919. All rights reserved.

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