The Room

I keep replaying it.

That moment when my world fell away beneath my feet.

I gripped my dad’s hand tighter as the room drew near and the hall began to disappear.

One light flickered above and the staff went about their business, gripping their clipboards tightly, always in a hurry.

I was in no hurry.

I focused on the surgeons steps ahead, guiding us to the room.

I tried to ignore the nurse beside him, blocking the thoughts of why she was there.

My palm was sweating more in my dad’s hand now and I realised I hadn’t yet taken a breath.

My brother should be here, (I can’t remember why he wasn’t) this was all happening so fast.

We knew there was a possibility of the monster being inside mum but we were just here to speak about how her surgery went, right?

We entered the room.

The tissues set poised on the table and the leaflets screamed at me in the corner of my eye, as if they already knew what was coming.

The chairs were cold and uncomfortable, much like the surgeon’s expression.

Beside him the nurse smiled and I realised her purpose. The surgeon began and it wasn’t good.

The monster liked mum too much and it wasn’t going anywhere.

In fact it had made its bed in several places inside her body. It claimed the pancreas home and was moving on to the stomach and bowel.

I couldn’t allow it to happen.

The surgeon’s mouth moved but I wasn’t listening anymore, I was thinking of a plan.

Dad squeezed my hand and began asking the surgeon questions.

“There’s not much more we can do other than hope her body will get stronger and she can fight it with chemotherapy.”

“There’s not much more we can do.”

I let go of dad’s hand.

“There’s not much more we can do.”

What’s stage four, terminal?

“There’s not much more we can do.”

Tissues were placed in my hand then.

I sat motionless, feeling the leaflets staring smugly.

They left me and dad alone and then my world fell apart.

I cried until I couldn’t and to this day I can still hear myself screaming “I’m going to lose my mummy.”

My 26-year-old body hidden in the comfort of my dad’s arms.

I didn’t notice the flickering light in the corridor again, no longer smiled at the staff walking past in the hallway.

Mum was waking up from surgery, she needed us.

She didn’t yet know the monster had come to stay and we couldn’t yet tell her.

I held my mum’s hand tightly.

I’ve been holding it ever since.

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