The doctor puts his hand on my shoulder “I’m sorry Jack, their’s nothing more we can do for your mother. By my estimate, your mother has less then a day to live.” Those words are every child's worst nightmare. To hear your parent has less then a day on their death clock and their’s nothing you can do to save them. It’s something that sickens you to the core. Here’s my mother, always full of life; always smiling; never worrying about tomorrow, reduced to nothing more but a seemingly lifeless pale husk. And all these machines attached to her. One to watch her heart beat, one to check brain activity one regulating breathing and one to pump medicine into her. To most people, all this will shock them, make them emotional. But I’m not like most people I turn to the doctor “So, you said that she’s in a coma?” “That is right.” “Will she come out of it before the initial time of death you set?” “Honestly, I couldn't tell you. No one knows with comas. She may remain in it till she passes or she may wake up in the next thirty seconds, I can’t tell you for sure. I’m sorry it’s not a definite answer. Now I've given everyone on this floor a notice that you are allowed to stay over night so you can…” I interrupted the doctor mid-sentence “No. No. That wont be necessary.” I turned to the doctor “If she gets better or if she worsens, you have my number.” I turn and head the way I came. I couldn't bare to stay in that hospital anymore. The doctor said something to me, but I was so wrapped up in one thought I blacked everything else out. “I need a damn drink” was all I can think about. So I get into my car and drive to the local bar It’s sad that after four years of not being in this town, I still remember the route to the bar like the back of my hand. Maybe that’s from all those times I went their to pick up my good for nothing alcoholic father. Driving up to the bar, I thought to myself ‘Damn, it stills looks the same. And it even has the same name “Red Moon Bar” never was quite original but it was a great bar” I drove into the spot that was closest to the door. The same spot I would drive into and see my father passed out. Imagine a fifteen year old trying to lift up a forty-something year old drunk who weight upwards of two seventy-five into and out of a car and up a flight of stares. What a great way to spend my latter teen years. Ironically that bastard died of liver failure. He was one of many reasons I left this town. I walk in to find the bar with only a few patrons in there, but then again; at 3 o'clock in the morning, who would be in a bar but the most desperate. I took a seat on the bar stool closest to the exit and order a whiskey. The bartender left and came back with a glass and the bottle. I told him to leave the bottle; I took out my phone, poured a drink and began to drink my troubles away. Like father like son most people would say to me. I wouldn't disagree. Even the mirror at the back of the bar reflected a younger image of my father. Six months worth of unshaven beard and un-kept hair, it was truly a dark reflection. In the middle of my forth and fifth drink, I hear a surprised girl say “Jack, Jack McCarthy?” At first I thought it was someone that might have recognized me. But, when I turned around to acknowledge this person; there she was. This girl; THE GIRL, the girl that was the catalyst for me leaving and never looking back till this day. Emily Woodson; the only person I never wanted to see again and now here she is and she still looks the same as I remember; dirty blond hair, greenish brown eyes and a intoxicating smile to go along with a gentle face. Average built but beyond a average girl, Emily was the perfect girl for me at one point. But she managed to mess that when she decided to cheat on me with my best friend at the time, Drew. I should have told her what I've always wanted to say to her for all these years. But instead I swallowed my pride and replied with “Emily? Holy shit… what are you doing here?” “I work here,” she said “I’m a overnight waitress. What are you doing here?” I turned away from her; took a drink and I said “My mother, She sick .“ She puts her hand on my shoulder and says “I heard she was rushed to the hospital. Small town, word travels quickly. But I meant, why are you here; in a bar, at 3 o’clock at night ? I turn to her with half a smile “well, this is the only bar that’s open this late. And I really need a drink.” Emily gave me a little smile back to acknowledge my subtle sarcasm and said “Well why don’t I join you?” I tried to get her from joining my by proposing the fact that she’s working, but she looked around as she took a seat to the left of me and said “I don’t think anyone’s going to be ordering anything anytime soon.” and orders herself a beer . I think to myself “Great, I have to sit next to this girl who I hate so much. Time to put on a façade as I always do.” She takes a sip of her beer and tries to start the conversation with me “Wow, you were always clean cut. Never thought you would grow out anything especially your beard, you were always so anal about that stuff.” “Yeah well, being a writer gives me little free time for meaningless stuff like that” “Cause your writing your next book, right?” As she asks me with a unsure tone. “I have to say your last two books were great.” I felt like saying yeah I’m working on another book, but some part of me knew that I needed to unload so I tell her “to be honest, I wrote my last book over two years ago and everything I’ve put on paper isn’t good enough to progress a story. So no, I haven‘t done anything with a new book.” “Is something wrong?” Emily asked me with a concerned tone I give a simple “No” and deflect with “So tell me, why are you still here, you had such big dreams outside of this town, What happened?” I knew she picked up on my deflection but she shrugged it off and continued the conversation “well you kind of lived that out for both of us… My aunt who raised me got sick and her medical bills started adding up fast, so I stopped going to college and I got a full time job here. After she got better I just kept on working and never got back around to finish my four years” I pour my seventh round as I reply “I’m sorry to here that” “Don’t be,” she said with a smile “she’s fine now, she made a speedy recovery. I just hope the same for your mom.” I look into the alcohol filled glass looking for a correct social answer but all I can come up with is “yea, me to.” and swig down what was left in the glass. Emily turned to me and asked “what did they say she has anyways?” “Brain tumor.” I say with little emotions I turn to find her face that expressed both shock and horror. She gives me a hug and says “Holy shit, I’m so sorry. She was so full of life the last time I saw her; that was about a couple of days ago. God, I couldn’t imagine what you’re going through right now.” I gave a little smirk and a chuckle under my breath and sarcastically said “oh no, I‘m expecting even more bad shit to come my way.” She backed away and a look of both anger and disconcert fell over her face “Okay, Why are you acting like this? your mom is in the hospital why are you acting like it’s no big deal” guess she decided enough with my current ways of dealing with my sadness. And their’s no fault in her reaction I give out a little laugh as I pour another drink for myself. I take the full glass in hand and swallow the whole drink in one shot and turn to Emily “Let me ask you something, what is it that you heard about me hmm? What that I found a beautiful girl; my life is great because of my successful books; I roll around my mountain of money? Let me tell you that all that is bullshit. That beautiful girl destroyed my trust and took most of that money. My life sucks, I can’t even write anymore and I have my publisher breathing down my neck for the next bestseller when the truth is I have writers block so far that I can’t put one damn word on the page. Truth is I’m a self medicating alcoholic who is vary depressed and is a soon to be ex-writer who is about to bury his mother. And lets not forget why I left in the first pla….” I ended up catching myself but the truth already saw the light of day and her face reflected it “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to bring up the past” She reluctantly smiled “No, It‘s okay. At least the truth comes out.” For a couple of minutes we just sat there in silence wondering which one will bring up this sore past, a past I buried and covered in cement. Till she turns to me and says “four years ago, I probably mad one of the most biggest mistakes of my life. Four years ago Drew came to me and told me that you were sleeping around with a girl. When he told me that, I couldn’t believe it. But he convinced me that it was true and, I don’t know he was there and things happened so fast that I…” I interrupted her “So your excuse is what? That he was there; I don’t know!? shit happens really!?” “No I….” I got up, took my phone and left some money for my drink “thanks really for the great clarity you brought me tonight. It Really helped.” and I stormed out the bar. My mind flooded with all these emotions of anger and hurt; hatred and rage. But, their was a undertone of another emotion of something, I just don’t know what it is. I to the got driver side before I heard her yell stop. I complied for reasoning I don’t know; maybe I’m interested or maybe I want to tell her to fuck off, either way I turned to listening to what she had to say “What Emily? What is it that you can possibly tell me that I don’t already know? I‘m listening.” “You have to understand that I was so confused and when you walked in on us, instead looking into a face of expectedness and not being surprised, I saw heartbroken and hurt. Something I never wanted to do to you. Something that for years has haunted me and that I would never get a chance to explain myself. But then you walked into the bar tonight and I knew I had to talk to you for whatever it was worth and then you open up to me tonight and I relies I’m to blame for all of it and I wish I wasn’t. Jack you were the best thing to ever come into my life and I solely fuck it up and pushed you out of it and I know that saying I’m sorry a million times will never help just please know that from the bottom of my heart, I mean it when I say I never did meant to hurt you.” She ends up falling into me and I have no choice but to put my arms around her and try to comfort her. Which is weird because just a few seconds ago I hated her with every fiber in my being and know that undertone feeling has flourished into a emotion that I haven’t felt in almost four years. I felt love. She wipes away her tiers; looks up at me and says “Truth is Jack, I love you and I never stopped.” At that point I didn’t know what to say. Millions of thoughts, words and sentences all came fluttering to mind but none match with what I felt I should say and when I found the words, my phone rang and it was the hospital so I had no choice but to pick up. “Hello?” “Mr. McCarthy? Hi it’s the doctor taking care of your mother.” “I said to call me Jack, What is it, did something happen to her?” “That is the reason I’m calling you. It seems she is rapidly deteriorating and it looks like your going to have to make a decision.” “Decision I don’t understand. You said she could wake up or that she would die in the coma. What happen?” “I Know what I said Mr. McCarth… Jack. But it seems that we were wrong. You need to come in immediately. I’ve already let the front desk know you are coming.” All that love I felt quickly shifted to anger and rage and another I haven’t felt in awhile; sadness. Emily still saddened and with some tears in her eyes still seamed more worried about me then she did herself by asking if I’m ok . I told her, “No, I‘m not. listen Can you drive me to the hospital, my mom is, she not doing to well.” Without hesitation she agreed and even afford to go in her car. We got inside of the car and sped off. Every second that went by was another memory that came to me of my mother and I that haven’t crossed my mind in years. Maybe I’m in shock I don’t know but I ended up just telling story after story to Emily, but one story did stick out. “I remember for days after my dad died, my mom didn’t leave her room or speak or eat. Which was weird cause my dad was never nice to her and here she was grieving over a abusive husband, and she ended up coming up to me one day and said “can you take me to the lake?” Now my mom loved Averic Lake, she would bring me there when I was little to get away from my dad when he was really drunk. So I bring her to the Lake and she ends up just standing there for like an hour just staring into the sunset which sounds so cliché but that’s truly what she did. And in that moment, she was peaceful and the most happiest I’ve ever seen her before. For four years I kept that one moment stuck with me. And now it’s up to me to choose if she lives or dies.” We arrive at the hospital maybe twenty minutes after the doctor called me. Emily stopped the car in front and turns to me “Do you want me to come in with you?” I took my a couple of seconds to answer which most of me wanted to say no, but some part of me wanted her to help me with this so I accepted her courtesy. We mange to find our way to my mothers room where the doctor was standing in front of. “Doctor,” I said with urgency “So what’s up, what’s going on?” “Like I said she’s just keeps getting worse. It seems the tumor has progressed more then what we thought. we did manage to wake her up. But, I don’t know how else to say it…. We can’t save her .” Hearing him say that made me want to grab him, throw him up against the wall and tell him You’re a doctor goddamn it save my mother! Do something! But I’m just so physically and emotionally exhausted I just say “Can I see her, alone?” “Of course” the doctor replied Emily grabs my hand and says “I’ll be out here.” I walked into the room that is designed to show comfort of a room in their house but the smell lets you know that you’re in a hospital. In the middle of the room lied my mother still connected to a heart beat monitor and I.V tubes but she was somewhat awake but her eyes were closed.. I felt a tier roll down the side of my face as I approached my mom and took her hand. The first tier I’ve let go in months. “Hi mom.” She opens her eyes and smiles “Son.” That lump you get in the back of your throat slowly creeps up and starts to choke me a little. She in hales and says to me “I‘m glad you came. It‘s been some time.” “I’m sorry I didn’t come sooner, I was busy.” “That’s okay. I know you are.” My mind ended up turning against me “I was busy, I lied to my mother on her death bed I‘m just like my father, tell her the truth damnit.” and I took the advice of my own mind “I’m sorry mom I can’t lie to you now. I wasn’t busy I was just afraid to come back here so you can see how much of a failure your son turned out to be. But know you’re here and I should have came sooner but I was to stuck in my hard headed woe is me phase.” I took a second to compose myself and then I asked her “what is it that you want me to do ma, just tell me.” She took my hand and squeezed it as she can tight as tiers feel from her eyes. She took a deep breath and she simply said “Just do the right thing.” I gave her a kiss on the forehead and whispered “I love you mom.” She closed her eyes and she never opened them again. I wiped the tiers away from my eyes and I walked out of the room where the doctor and Emily were waiting. I turn to the doctor and say “She would want to be cremated” “If you are sure, but Mr. McCarthy you don’t have to make that decision at this moment .“ “No, I’m sure” Emily gave me a hug and said “I’m sorry” “It’s okay” I said “Can you bring me back to the bar so I can get my car?” She said “Okay.” and we both left the hospital; got into her car and drove off back to the bar. The whole drive, all I could think about is what my mom said to me; Just do the right thing. I think a part of me knew what she meant most of me didn’t. Emily turns into the parking lot and parks her car next to mine and she turns off the car. I guess she didn’t know really what to say to me, but we had to finish what we started a hour ago. So I asked her “Do you know why I write?” She turned to me waiting for a answer. “I first started writing to escape my father and the world around me. It is my escape. It helps me finds solutions to problems that seem to some unanswerable, and sets me free from emotions and tie me down so much. But all my writing all my writing, couldn’t free me from one person. You Emily. And all my writing could help me escape the fact that I do still love you. And nothing I did or ever do could change that and this I know now.” I moved closer to her and we both shared a kiss on the lips. She backed out and gave me a little smile and a laugh, the only laugh you hear from someone who truly loves you. She tried to kiss me but I stopped her and said “That is why, and it does pain me to say this but, that is why I need you to forget about me.” As soon as I said those words her whole facial expression changed. she went from a face that was more lit up then my city I live in at night to a pale face, that to a ghost. Every bit of her screamed heartache. I had to continue “You made a mistake, something that I thought till recently was your fault and I know now that I judged you to fast before you can tell me your side of things and that truly did put a strain on you.” She pleaded me to stop as she cried and caressed my face. But I had no choice but to continue “You told me a story of your aunt getting sick so you could stay in town, you could have left anytime but you didn’t because you thought one day I would come back and you can explain your story and apologize and I understand. But you have to live, you can’t stay here anymore thinking that I’ll come back cause I wont. You can’t love me anymore, you have to find someone else who will love you and hold you and make you feel special and never make you cry as I once did” Before I left her car; just as my mother left me with parting words I left her with some as well “Live Emily. Live and be a better person then I could ever be. Show up to my death bed and tell me that you did better without me.” I opened the door and walked out her car and into mine. I started up the car, drove off and never looked back. And after putting some distance between the town and me, I pulled over turned the car off and just let out all this anger and emotions in the forms of screams and slamming the steering wheel and kicking the floor. And after all was let out, I felt the weight of the world had been lifted of my shoulder. All these thoughts and ideas come rushing to me; my next story started to form Deaths Silver Lining. I sat there for a moment to catch my breath, But I couldn’t help but laugh at my newly found clarity. I turned on the car and headed straight home.
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