March 28, 2007

A Dark Valentine's

It was a day like any other. I remember complaining about the fact that I would have to do community service as part of school requirements and how you told me it was a good thing to be able to help the needy. I smirked and shrugged it off, dismissing you faster than you could utter another phrase. The car ride was silent, interrupted briefly only by the conversation you tried to start between us. All you got were grunts and little nods of acknowledgement; oh how I regret that. We reached the orphanage and I shouted at you, telling you not to interrupt me when I was busy with my own indulgences. You smiled wryly and drove off. Little did I know it would be the last time I saw you alive.

The day passed in a flash, and I was sitting at home when the phone call came. You were having difficulty breathing and Auntie Ai Cheng told me not to panic but to get ready to leave for the hospital. I breathed in deeply, hoping to calm myself, hoping to stem the tide which threatened to leave me a sobbing wreck. The car ride was excruciating, worried thoughts continuously playing all worst-case scenarios again and again. At some point, I knew you were gone but I scarcely dared accept that reality. As the car pulled up to NUH, I knew that a life-changing moment was about to dawn on me.

When Mom ran out of the Emergency Ward crying, my heart sank. The hopes and optimism I carried with me washed away in a tide of her tears and mine. I stumbled through the swinging doors, hoping to at least catch a moment with you before you left this world. But it was not to be. That tirade I hurled at you would be our last communique as father and son. My lips quivered as I saw you on that table, lifeless and cold; eyes shut in eternal rest. The tears did not come, surprisingly. It was just....a void. A void which no one has yet been able to fill thus far. The memories of us during our bonding sessions flashed past my eyes as I held your stiff hands. I apologised profusely knowing that it meant nothing. It was all for nothing. I had lost a best friend, a piece of me and most importantly, a father.

It's been almost a decade since that fateful Valentine's Day. Yet the events remain etched in memory like scars on the sands of time. I am sorry, and I will always be. You are missed and loved, Papa.

Richard E: 1949 - 1998

"Could it be any harder? To say goodbye without you. Could it be any harder? To watch you go, to face what's true. If I only had one....more day."


Traveller fell apart at 12:39 AM

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