I am three years old, sitting in my father’s lap. Dad and I are almost done eating our spaghetti by the time mom brings her meal to the living room. Television laugh tracks hum in the background, I fidgit joyfully and slurp up the last noodles into my mouth. My dad’s recliner squeaks with every move i make. I would probably ask him to do his “magic” tricks or copycat his every move.
This day was different though, after my plate was empty,dad got up and walked the dishes to the kitchen. As he reached the threshold to the kitchen he staggered and dropped to the ground. I cried and ran to his side, my mom quickly followed. We both cried as mom shook him.
She frantically reached for the wall mounted phone,I remember the long spiral cord that could stretch half way through the living room and past that kitchen.
Normally, i would bat and tug on the phone line,as if i were a playful kitten, but like i said, today was different. The phone line dangled by my knees in peace, mom slammed the phone down and immediately called our neighbor, a physical therapist for special need children. Her and her husband ran over and performed CPR. I remember Mom trying to push me behind her so I wouldn’t see, i remember the sound of my father’s chest crackling from the compressions and the confusing sight of our neighbor blowing in his mouth.
My father was gone. No pulse,no breath, no magic tricks. Gone. Not the kind of abandonment my siblings suffered, but abandonment none the less. At some point, my neighbor’s breath and relentless compressions brought him back, by then the darkness of the world had revealed it’s ugly existence to me. I was forever changed.
Finally, the lights and uniforms arrived, mom climbed in the ambulance with my dad as my neighbors took me by the hand and walked me to their house. As I watched the ambulance speed down the long gravel driveway, I flt utterly alone and as the lights faded into the trees, i wasn’t sure I would ever see