A Week in the Life

I was 11

I was 11, my dad didn’t do stuff with me anymore.
He went to the hospital a lot. When at home he was in bed.
I was in sixth grade.
There were phones in our class rooms connected to the principles’ office.
Every time it rang, I about jumped out of my skin.
I thought I would be pulled out of class because my father died.
I don’t know why I thought that, nobody told me he was dying.
In those days’ kids were left out of the loop.

The last week of my father’s life I was sent to stay at a friend’s house up the street.
My two sisters went elsewhere.
It made the back and forth to the hospital easier for my mom?
I tried to act like this was normal.
It wasn’t, but I knew not to say anything.
I didn’t see my dad that week because kids my age were not old enough to visit hospitals.
Rules are rules after-all and not made to be broken.

That Friday I didn’t go to school because my father died.
It was the last day of September.
I walked home alone from my friend’s house.
It wasn’t far.
When I got there my mother didn’t tell me he “died,” she told me “he went to heaven.”
That sounds better.
After the funeral several relatives told me I was the man of the house now.
I was 11.

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