Much to my dismay, I have been trapped in the house nursing a nasty, watered-down version of the flu my stepmother had not two weeks back. If you asked me two days ago, I would have slightly over-exaggerated and told you that I was afflicted with the worst strain to ever hit mankind. Now I have most of my faculties back and can admit that I am just a wimp when I am sick. I have cabin fever, and I am itching to go back to work in the morning, even though I am still not over my cold.
A few weeks ago, my stepmother was more ill than I had seen her in a long time. She missed several days of work after being sick over the entire weekend. I thought I had made out easy and escaped it. So did my father. My father absolutely should not get sick. He has COPD, and when he gets the simplest of colds, he almost always develops a nasty bout of pneumonia. So, in an attempt to avoid passing my illness on to him, I have been downstairs rarely, really only to eat, and once yesterday when I had to leave the house with my sister and go to the store. Even though I was sick. Even though it drained the life out of me. I had to see the sun and remind myself that I was no longer a prisoner.
This afternoon, I came downstairs to get something to eat, and my father was in the kitchen. So now, my father is sick, and I got a knot in the pit of my stomach. I immediately thought of last year, when I was still with Kevin, and I wanted to punch a wall.
I got a call at work one day from my sister saying that my dad was sick, and it would be a good idea to try to get up to the hospital to see him. All I was told at that point was that he had pneumonia, and he wasn’t doing well. I didn’t know that it came on within a day of him getting sick. They didn’t tell me that he had COPD. They just said to come.
I called Kevin, and I told him that he needed to come pick me up and bring me to the hospital. He fought me. He didn’t see a need for it and said maybe we would go later. What he didn’t tell me, and what I figured out on my own, was that he wasn’t home, and he was not going to take me. He was busy chasing vapor. Then he hung up on me. So I called him back, only to get a greeting so nasty, I cannot quote it here. A hateful rant after which he threatened me that I better not leave work and not call him again.
I put the handset down. Everyone else was already at the hospital. Why did he always try so diligently to make *me* look like the jerk? I got a call again. They had admitted my father, and they gave me the floor and room number. I tried calling a few family members to see if they had gone up yet, but no answer. That’s the fun thing about being cut off from family. When you try to contact them, they don’t answer the phone.
Kevin was supposed to pick me up from work, but he didn’t show up. It was far from the first time it happened, and one of the girls brought me home. I paced inside. Kevin had the phones, the neighbors weren’t home, but if they were, would I be gutsy enough? Would I dare open that door? When he finally stomped through the door, it was late. For the first time since he had first put his hands on me almost four years prior, *I* started an argument. When he wouldn’t stand there and listen to what I had to say, I followed him, screaming about how my father was more important than him running the streets, that he left me stranded at work, that he kept the phones knowing my family was trying to get ahold of me, and all he had to say was, “He don’t call you anyway.” In that voice. The voice he used when he wanted me to know he didn’t care how I felt.
He pushed me out of the way, and I felt something in my head snap. My face become so hot, it felt like I was on fire. I unleashed a fury of words on him, and he didn’t react until I turned to walk away. I knew he would come after me, but I didn’t care. I ripped one of the cell phones off the TV and started to call my mother. He didn’t agree with my course of action and promptly punished me.
He quite craftily prevented me from going to see my father. In fact, by the time he agreed, he had already apparently been told that my father would probably be released that day. When I spoke to my stepmother, that was confirmed. And of course, since my father was getting better, he saw no reason that I needed to go see him after work either.
After this, I got the entire story of how the events unfolded. My father had come down with a cold and felt bad enough to go to the doctor on his own. He tried to tell them he had pneumonia, but they brushed him off and sent him home with some medication. He was home sick, my stepmother was at work. He called her cell phone to tell her that he couldn’t breathe. She told him she was turning around and was going to hang up and call 911. When the paramedics got to my father’s house, he had started turning blue.
All this came back to my mind this afternoon, when I looked at my father and knew instantly he was sick. I thought of how he could have died last year, and I would not have been able to see him, and very likely would have been prevented from going to the services if he had. All because Kevin was keeping me a prisoner at home. Because he was out feeding the monster. Running the streets with people I wish I could say I never met. Ignoring my calls and denying me the simple request of visiting my father.
If I ever felt anything even remotely overpowering, I felt it for him today. Anger, overwhelming.