Providing elite-level, in-school college counseling services to students in Greater Birmingham.
“At the very least, it’ll be a few weeks, or at least until the doctor can run some tests.” I had asked the nurse how long my father would be in the hospital, expecting a response of “Oh just a few days,” or at most, “A week, tops.” I had not him to need any further procedures, so at the nurse’s reply, I was in full-fledged panic. I had believed my father, historically stoic, sitting inches away from me in his wheelchair, was merely in need of a checkup.
It was not until the next day that I realized none of my other family members seemed shocked to hear the news; my father least of all perturbed. When I asked my mother about it, she informed me that the rest of the family had known of my father’s condition, and they had collectively decided to withhold this from me. To hear that my family didn’t believe I was mature enough to handle such information was insulting. This was my dad in the hospital after all, the one who I had learned everything from. He taught me how to walk, how to talk, how to laugh and smile. He loved to take me hiking; Together, we scaled countless mountains, reached improbable heights, and achieved the impossible. So didn’t I deserve to know? Was I really so immature that my family didn’t trust me? Or was it to ‘protect me,’ as they claimed?
She was a beautiful creature, with angelic, golden blonde hair. The light ricocheted off of it, rounding out the lighting in what I could tell was usually a deathly gray room. Her soft blue eyes perfectly matched her all baby-blue attire, and she had a strong, prominent jawline, though softened so deftly that I thought some deity must’ve paid remarkably close attention to the sculpting of this magnificent creation. Gorgeous was not even the word.
But then she said it. “Spinal cancer,” with a matter-of-fact tone. In vicious instance, the angel turned demon. I looked at my father, sitting in his wheelchair, who remained stoic as he looked out the window. I scanned the room, noticing the blank faces of my mother, stepdad, and godfather. Without speaking, their still faces managed to say something: they already knew. But, I didn’t know. Everyone knew, but I didn’t know. Hearing this news slingshotted me into the abyss of detachment, far away from this realm. Then, suddenly, I was thrown back, and it was real. It was all so real. And heavy. The weight of the moment had me crumble to the floor, bawling. I was hysterical.