Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day

My father called me this morning to tell me they've taken my grandfather off life support. I didn't even know he was in the hospital since nobody bothered to call me ten days ago when he went in. I will go to Springfield tomorrow, Greyhound if I have to, but by then he will probably not recognize me if he's still alive-- they started the morphine drip when they turned off the ventilator.

I have spent the day fighting the waves of guilt that wash over me every time I think about all of the missed opportunities to visit my grandfather. It hurts more than I thought it would. My head aches from letting go in short bursts.

The windows are open and the lights are off; I can't see any fireworks, but I can hear them and smell them. I was supposed to be at a party right now, watching drunk people ignite dangerous explosives in celebration of... something... but instead I am at home, alone. I turned down the fan so I could listen for the sound of his jeep turning in to our garage, the sound that will signal the end of my solitude, but so far the pops and screams of fireworks and the faint laughter of people celebrating are the only sounds disturbing the still night.

When he asked me if I was okay with his going to the party, and I said yes, I almost meant it. Almost. But that was more than ten hours ago, when it was still light out and I hadn't just spent most of the day alone with myself. As the minutes tick slowly past, "almost" gets further and further away and my fingers itch to dial his cell phone number and ask him to come home to me.


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