Papa, Can You Hear Me?Sometimes I can’t believe it’s been over twenty years. One day it seems like everything happened yesterday and the other – as though the centuries had passed. Isn’t it strange?
I grew up overnight. I like changes in my life as I believe they drag you out of the comfort zone and make you learn all the time, but this time it was too much… I went fishing with my daddy only to come back all alone and get scared beyond imagination.
Still, as the adage goes: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The special bond between us, as solid as a rock, came to my rescue. When the ambulance driver refused to help the nurses carry my dad on the stretcher because, as he said ‘there’s no use, it’s going to be over soon. We are in the middle of nowhere, we’re not going to make it to the hospital ’I mustered all my strength to speak politely and very clearly: ‘Please help, this is my dad.’ I was so glad I managed to say it calmly as it really worked – he looked at me strangely but rushed to help. Well, only later did I learn that in fact I was screaming – my friends who were on the skirt of the forest were able to find us after they heard my yells… Isn’t everything relative?
While the ambulance was taking him to the hospital, I was kneeling next to him stroking his thick, curly, grayish hair and begged, whispering: “Breathe on, please, breathe on…” Late at night, curled up on a hospital balcony and smoking constantly, I was praying: ‘God, please, don’t take him away from me… Let him stay here… No matter what condition he is going to be in, I’ll look after him with all the love he has given and taught me. Please, God, please…’ Young people are very selfish, aren’t they?
All the shooting stars fell down in August
I didn’t have time to make a single wish
Now the night is dark
The ships run aground
I’m lost again
It’s funny, but I don’t really remember at least the five years that followed… I was living in some haze, now I can recall only shreds of memories: sleeping a lot, university, exams, my first job, keeping busy, keeping very busy, keeping very very busy… It helped to deaden the pain because tears couldn’t – my body just refused to cry. It was tearing me up inside. Some people said: ‘How strong you are! Talk about it, cry!’ I’m not sure if I really was that strong. There were just so many things I had to take care of. Moreover, I could neither talk nor cry. There were no words to express what I felt. For the first time in my life I ran out of words…
But I remember sitting next to him when he was lying in the hospital bed. I gave the doctors a hard time as actually I wasn’t allowed to be in the ER. Still, there was no way to drag me out of there. Eventually, they gave up as I promised to obey all the rules. Daddy was unconscious but he must have heard me whispering all the stories and memories of our great life together. His giving me a piggyback ride every time my legs were killing me. The shorts I sewed for him every year. His fatherly pride and admiration when I was wearing the clothes I made myself. His patient voice explaining coordinate geometry to me for the thousandth time and taking me for a walk when I had enough. The blue stilettos he bought me when I was feeling down, just to cheer me up... I have never worn anything blue in my life! Fishing. Singing and playing the guitar by the fire. Our late night conversations about life, school, future. Talking over the problems I was facing, heated arguments about trivial and important things. Wordless communication. His Sunday driving me off to the train station when I was at university an hour earlier because we just wanted to sit in silence and smoke together. Our waltzing at my sister’s wedding reception. Our last waltz, actually…
Then I asked him not to worry about me. I promised that he would be proud of me. Actually, I needn’t have said that. He was always proud of me anyway.
It’s going to be another Christmas without you … But I promised I’d manage the best I could… And you know I have and I will…
“Don’t be afraid,” you said
“It doesn’t hurt.
Slivers of broken glass
Your wings will grow.
Two times two makes four
The boat may tip up
Touch my hand
All ends well.”
Your angel wings
Carry me through life.