Bright headlights speed past the car. I glance down at my phone’s vibrant light, tears falling down my cheeks. One question boggles my mind thoroughly; how did this night end up so horrible?
Mom’s knuckles are white from gripping the steering wheel so hard and she breaks the agonizing silence.
“Honey, I just want you to know that he’ll probably have a bunch of tubes in him and he might not be able to talk that well.” She loosens her grip on the steering wheel. Just a hair though.
“I know mom.” I say harsher than I mean to. She flinches, it’s been an awful night for the both of us, “Sorry.” She nods and sharply inhales.
Five more minutes of the silence. “Are we almost there?”
“Just getting off now.”
She switches lanes and eventually exits the highway. Nearly seconds later we are pulling into the bright white building’s parking lot. Even in the dark night, it seems to be glowing.
“Let’s go.” She quickly shuts off the car and hops out of it, I do the same. My 12 year old legs have a difficult time keeping up with her 52 year old ones.
The pungent yet familiar odor of the hospital is the first thing to hit me; it is like a semi truck barrling full speed at me. The smell is as if every single bleach product was mixed together in hopes to cover the overwhelming stench of sickness. The fumes is so overwhelmingly strong that it burns my nose hairs
Noise is the second semi truck, even though it’s 10 pm, there’s buzzing all around; the lights, the phones, the little squeaks of the beds as patients are rolled by.
“Mel Enders,” my mother tells the lady at the front desk. I wouldn’t call her a receptionist because this is a hospital. Receptionist’s are made for hotels. And everyone love’s hotels. No one likes hospitals. At least to my understanding.
The lady’s eyes soften and my heart drops. I know that look. It’s the same look that mom had in her eyes when she told me about Grandma. The same look in dad’s eyes when he told me about Grandpa.
“Follow me,” she says and we do. She leads us back to a room and opens the door. My three cousins and aunt are the faces greet us on the other end of the door. The lady from the front desk leaves.
Based on the look on their faces, I don’t want to hear the next words. I want to scream. This is not happening. This is a nightmare.
“Where is he?” Mom asks frantically, speaking at Aunt Gail. “Why aren’t you with him?”
“Susie,” Aunt Gail breathes. I want to cover my ears. Scream so that all I can hear is my voice. If I don’t hear next the words then it won’t be a reality. If I don’t hear them then it’s not true. And suddenly, all at once, the hospital is the quietest place in the universe. “He didn’t make it.”
Mom wails, which is understandable. “Can I at least see him?”
Aunt Gail nods and grabs mom’s hand. They both go back into a room that I have no intentions of going in. Tears pour down my cheeks like a river with no end.
Kayla is the first to break the loud silence. “You okay Roy?” She takes my hand and squeezes it.
I shake my head no, not even attempting to speak. After a few minutes of just stillness, I break it as reality as realization smacks me across the face. . .
“I only have one Grandparent left.”