While I thought my life had turned upside down when my mother died, nothing could have prepared me for what happened only 8 months later.
Happily, I walked home from the school bus, full of Valentine candy and carrying a plethora of Valentine cards. My thoughts were focused on the fact that B.J. Benton had written me a Valentine. Maybe it meant nothing, but to a 10-year-old girl with a crush, it was enough to give a hope.
It was these thoughts that distracted me as I approached the house. Seeing my father hobble down the front steps brought all of my girlish thoughts to a standstill. Why is my father out of the house? He shouldn't be walking so close to his surgery. My thoughts turned into worried words. "Dad, I thought you weren't supposed to be walking!" I exclaimed.
"It's okay, Sarah. I'm just going for a little drive," he replied. Something didn't sit right with me. A nervous knot nagged at my stomach. Maybe I was worried simply because of my mom's recent death. Her death made all signs nowadays appear that all my loved ones were going to die. But, it felt like more. It felt wrong. The stickler for rules was disobeying. "But, Dad, did you ask your doctor?"
"It's fine, Sarah. I'll be home soon," he calmly stated. It wasn't right. I knew it and I pressed one more time. "Are you sure, Dad?" "It's fine, Sarah. I'll be home soon. I love you."
I choked out the "I love you" in return and watched as he drove away in his old VW pop top van. This moment felt big and real and all wrong. I watched long after he turned the corner, willing him to come back, knowing somehow I would never see him again.