a bad memory
Lights off baby girl, time to go to bed,
Don't you wake up scared from your nightmares, for I'll be long dead,
There won't be no one to wipe your tears,
And that just breaks my heart,
For I had promised you when you first blinked; that we'd never be apart.
27 march 2017
You know they say; how each man carries his death in his pocket, no one dares to defy it, and no one can prevent it.
'Fate' they call it.
That bitch has no patience nor restrictions.
My whole world stopped as I watched several middle-aged men, clothed in outfits specifically stitched for nurses.
With dirty mustard caps and their name tags dangling from their necks, pushing a stretcher towards the brightly lighted ambulance, screeching loud noises to inform everyone of the tragedy that had taken place.
They stopped in their tracks as I stood at a distance, taking in the calamitous scene before me, their faces bland, lacking any sort of emotion as they looked back towards a man in red and announced,
"we've lost her Dr.Ahmed, age: 41, cause of death: far too many wounds to conclude exactly what killed her, time of death: 9:36 pm".
My breath hitched and I found my legs sprinting towards the ambulance as I watched Dr.Ahmed note down the death details on a form of some sort, attached to a navy coloured clipboard to support the paper.
Nurses helped secure her into a body bag, sliding the corpse into the ambulance roughly as if it wasn't a human being but a ragged doll instead.
I was pushed back by the policemen that stood every few inches from each other, circling the house.
The house that was once a home
The safest, most secure place I had ever known, now seemed like nothing more than a war zone.
A bad memory
I pointed towards the house and then back at me, trying to explain to them that it was my own family they were trying to protect.
But I couldn't.
I couldn't speak, my lips moved but no sound escaped my throat.
I felt mute as I continued to push back both the tears and the officer blocking my view.
Our neighbour Mr.Smith who seemed anxious with the situation in hand, stepped in and told the officers that I was a part of that family, forcing them to let me cross.
But by the time I reached the ambulance, it was too late; tears sprung out my eyes, bleeding onto my cheeks, leaving wet trails.
I cried for my loss.
Loss for the lives we had planned.
Loss for the dreams we had dreamt.
I didn't have enough time to grieve or ask who laid dead in the ambulance when another gruff voice shouted,
"Dr.Ahmed, excessively low heart rate, internal bleeding in the left side of his body, irises dilated to 3.3 inches", his voice urgent as he strolled the stretcher into the ambulance.
My feet throbbed from dragging myself from one place to another, I could almost feel my pulse throughout my body, and it terrified me.
It terrified me how my heart could beat while someone's just stopped.
It terrified me how the pace of my heart quickened as I walked between the corpses laid onto the dusty concrete ground.
I pushed my way through the ocean of nurses, and towards the now loaded ambulance, adjusting to the scenario, I caught a glimpse of my father, blood flooding his shirt and pooling down below him. His skin pale and his body slightly shaking.
My body too began to shake, uncontrollably.
I couldn't believe- I refused to believe that this man who lay awaiting his death was the same man I had talked to a couple minutes ago.
"Please-", I begged, making my way into the ambulance, not knowing exactly what I was asking for.
All I knew was I wanted them to save him, to make sure he doesn't die, to bring my dad back.
"Dad-dad", I whimpered as I brushed the tips of my fingers onto his temple soothingly, his skin felt cold- so cold that I felt as if the universe had already declared him a corpse.
His eyes were trained onto me; as if begging me to understand what he was trying to say without syllables.
His cheeks flushed with fresh tears staining his face. His ears a blood red from rage,
Rage at the universe.
Rage at himself.
I shook my head vigorously, not wanting to hear anything at the moment. My body ached, each and every muscle screeching, praying to whatever mighty power there was above, pleading for him to be okay.
"He-he-e is-s ino-innocent-t", his voice hoarse and painful, as if it took every last bit of his strength to mumble the syllables, his voice breaking to a point where I could barely understand a word of what he said.
Coughing violently right after he completed his sentence, resulting in clots of blood drooling from the left side of his mouth, causing panic to arise as the nurse began to wipe it off.
I shook my head again, hard and fast; from side to side, desperately wanting him to stop talking, slipping my fingers into his, intertwining them; trying to comfort myself more than him.
"we're losing him, his right artery is far too damaged, we're going to have to perform an open heart surgery right here, there is no other way to stop the bleeding", his voice crucial.
"That's far too risky", the nurse replied with equal urgency. Dr.Ahmed agreed, probably trying to figure out another solution in his head. "Do it", I found myself muttering before I could register.
Both of them stared at me dumbfounded, clearly taken aback by my sudden outburst.
"Who are you-", "HIS DAUGHTER", my voice dripping pure rage, from both anger and impatience.
"Ma'am it's too risky-", my heart racing far too quickly for my liking, thumping over and over again, an uneasy feeling, yet not an uncomfortable one since I was getting used to it by now.
Isn't it Hilarious, that when we're thrown into a scenario or an obstacle that once seemed far too difficult and disruptive for our comfort-zones, we back out,
try to escape
Then, we realise that there is no fleeing the scenario, that there's no way to escape the situation.
So, we obviously start accepting our fate, shredding ourselves into pieces and stitching ourselves back together; into someone else, someone who doesn't get affected by our twisted fate, someone numb, someone strong, someone even we ourselves then have a hard time recognising.
The pain that once felt so unbearably excruciating, now only seems like a bad dream.
You get so used to the pain that the pain doesn't hurt at all.
"He's going to die anyways, the nearest hospital from here is ten minutes away. You're not fooling anyone here but yourselves, this is our only hope, do it", I cut him off aggressively
Dr.Ahmed let out an exhausted sign and swiftly nodded towards the nurse, forcing the nurse to hesitantly nod his head back, making his way towards a couple other nurses.
His voice was loud and clear, asking the nurses to grab the materials, making them fumble their way into ambulances to collect the instruments required.
Dr.Ahmed handed me a form, while my dad was strolled back outside, in the open air, exposed to all the judgemental and fearful stares.
They laid my father down on the floor, laying a dozen medical sheets below him; and that's when people began to understand what exactly was going on.
I grabbed the pen that was being offered to me by one of the nurses and laid the paper on the trunk of the ambulance I had exited, trying to sign decently, even with my shaky hands.
Screams and threats exploded in the area as I heard people telling me that I shouldn't allow this and that he could die, some even threatened to call the authorities; ignoring the fact that there was more than enough already present on the crime scene.
My heartbeat quickened as I scratched my signatures onto the form and found my way back towards my father, a part of me was frightened by the possibilities.
Anything could happen.
However I wasn't letting it get to my head, reassuring myself that he would be okay.
I believed it.
I was almost so certain of it when I overheard a nurse gossiping to another while piling up the required instruments, about how Dr.Ahmed had done something like this before and was deemed successful.
Little did I know, fate had something else planned for me. Something far more tragic, far more deadly.
Dr.Ahmed asked me to move aside because I wasn't allowed near the patient until the surgery was over.
Knowing I wasn't really left with much of a choice, I scooted further but stretched dad's arm enough for mine to be holding his hand in a firm grip, silently begging him to not let go as they begin the surgery.
Dad flinches as Dr.Ahmed slides an IV line into the pulse vein in his arm, pricking his skin, resulting in a tiny spot of blood that would definitely leave a mark.
A mark that would help me decide tomorrow whether all this was not just a terrible nightmare.
A mark that resembled the many I never knew I was going to be carved in, expect mine we're going to be deep, mine were going to be painful.
Dad's expressions begin to relax, his forehead creases snuggled into the rest of his skin, making him seem so peaceful.
I stared at the sight in awe, suddenly unaware of the situation I was in.
However, Dr.Ahmed was quick to break my daze as he wrapped a mask around dad's mouth, a transparent fog crowding it.
I was only seconds away from objecting and changing my mind when my orbs fell onto father again, from the expression on his face; it was clear that he wasn't hurting anymore. That was probably the most peaceful I had seen him in years. So peaceful and serene; that I was almost sure that no power in this universe could break that peace.
His cold hand squeezed mine for the last time, his touch too distant to be comfortable. It felt some sort of a warning; a threat, a 'don't try in vain', which only helped push me to the edge, squeezing tighter as his hand fell limp into mine.
His eyeballs started to roll back as his eyelids began to drop lazily, he didn't even try to pry them open, as if he had already decided that there was no hope.
He gave up too soon.
Far too soon.
Once dad was knocked out completely; Dr.Ahmed grabbed a thin yet long transparent tube, gently shoving it inside dad's mouth, sliding it down his windpipe. My eyes snapped shut in anticipation, unable to watch him get hurt.
Dr.Ahmed then grabbed a pair of scissors, cutting dad's shirt in half, then pulling it out from each side with the help of a nurse.
He then used a pair of iris scissors, drawing an 8-10 inch cut in his chest. Blood gushed out uncontrollably, while the nurse in-charge assisted the doctor, placing tissues near the cut, just for a couple of seconds, probably to remove the excess blood.
The doctor then cuts through a part of his breastbone; exposing his heart.
The air got stuffier if that was even possible, while the crowd got louder, willing to walk towards the scene but were restricted by the officers.
I couldn't help but feel nauseous over the sight of his now visible heart. Dr.Ahmed quickly connected a heart-lung bypass machine to him.
The machine helped move the blood away from the heart so that it can be operated on.
Dr.Ahmed kept digging his fingers inside the open space, shoving the tips into the heart; as if he was searching for something. My own heart clenched at the sight, silently praying for it all to be over soon.
Dr.Ahmed expressions that were once stiff, now twisted into something much more calm, restoring hope inside of me.
He picked up the macro scissors and cut an artery, in an attempt to make a new path around the damaged artery.
He seemed satisfied as he let out a "aha, I've found it", the nurses and the crowd all cheered, some thrilled while others seemed to relax.
I felt overwhelmed, I couldn't describe what I felt, how I felt; but all I knew was that I was grateful, to whatever or whomever had brought my father back to me.
The doctor then began to close his breastbone with a wire, apparently leaving the metal inside daddy's body, then stitching up the original cut.
My anxiety was breaking my shell more by every passing moment. I was terrified of what was to have happened to the rest of them, to the rest of my family.
That word seems all too bitter now.
When the doctor was done with the surgery, he instructed the nurses to pick dad up and get him into the ambulance.
His voice was a great evidence to the fact that he was beyond proud of his accomplishment, he just couldn't wait for that promotion he would be getting as soon as the news reached his superior.
I couldn't care less, all I gave a fuck about was that my dad was safe.
Dr.Ahmed then bent down and pressed his index finger onto my dad's neck, apparently checking his pulse, while the nurses waited for him to scoot so they could do their job.
He seemed proud as he tried to locate his pulse, but to his dismay; there was none.
His victorious smile dropped and he seemed more focused, pressing harder onto his vein, as if pleading for it to throb against his finger.
He walked towards me, his steps slow and steady as if he was frightened he would trip if he walked too fast, a worrisome expression hogging his features as his face dropped, he shook his head quietly from side to side, starting at his feet in shame and anxiousness.
My eyes stared at Dr.Ahmed in disbelief, imitating him as I shook my head vigorously, certain if I shook it too hard, this nightmare would be bound to end.
But it didn't.
It never did.
You know what's so incredibly terrifying about letting go of someone? It's knowing that they won't trace their way right back to you.
I was only 17 when I learnt that. It appears before me as I close my eyes; so accurate and realistic, that it feels like it all happened not more than a couple moments ago.
I remember grabbing Noah's hands while he was rushed through the hospital on a plain wheeled bed; holding his with my own shaky ones.
And I remember the name I carried, for he wouldn't stop repeating it, reassuring me that he would be fine as his voice cracked due to the pain he was going though, promising me that everything was going to be alright.
I recall panicking when the doctors walked out with a look of sorrow plastered on their faces as they blurred out the last syllables I expected to hear, "I'm sorry for your loss".
But they weren't sorry, they couldn't be. Hell, they didn't even seem to give a shit about it.
They couldn't be right
There must have been a misunderstanding, I had thought.
He couldn't- h-he wouldn't.
No. no. no.
No one it can't be.
He told me.
He fucking promised.
I was so certain that Noah would walk out the door any second and confess that this was all just a prank pulled at me for replacing his shower-gel with toothpaste last week, but it never happened.
He never came
Then suddenly the doors to the operating rooms opened and I screamed in joy.
But something was wrong, you could tell even from the distance we stood at; she laid immobile. Her skin now was as pale as the plain sheets on her wheeled bed itself. Her lips parted and her eyes shut.
Before I could register, my feet found themselves nearing her as the nurses moved aside, giving us a couple moments to grieve.
Rania too was at the hospital, she had reached before me; the news had spread across town like fire, everyone and every news channel was talking about how a billionaire's house was attacked and he was murdered along with his wife.
But that's all they knew. They seemed to overlook the fact that they were much more than just 'Draven and Valerie Williams, the famous billionaires'.
He, who was murdered, was a son, a brother, a husband, and a father who was terrible at soccer but was a spectacular chef.
She, who was murdered, was a daughter, a sister, a wife, and a mother who was an incredible painter but an awful writer.
No one knew who they were really.
No one knew how much despised pickles on her pizza while dad adored them, how she would pick them all out of her slices before she ate her pizza and how dad would gather them all up and munch on them while mum would make a rather disgusting face, forcing us all to laugh.
No one knew how mum was an incredible painter and this one time, dad practically begged her to paint him as Hercules, I recall him sitting on the sofa in a fixed pose for hours, he was so overjoyed to see himself with something other than his little dad belly he had grown out during these past four years.
No one knew how dad used to sneak us out at 3:00 am at night to go grab some ice cream while mum slept in, one time, dad couldn't find his car keys, so we all decided to look for it, dad kept hushing us in order to not wake mum up; aware of the chaos she would create over us leaving the house at night for, as she'd like to phrase it 'a scoop of overrated ice cream'.
After a couple of minutes of searching for it in vain and not finding it, dad decided we take mum's car instead; so we all quietly exited the house and got into mum's car before driving towards London dairy.
Blasting out music as dad opened the roof of the pearly convertible, driving at a speed he was certain he would get a good fine at; but daddy always said that 'the best time to drive is early morning, when it's not morning or night, the less the cars, the better the drive',
We reached the shop only to find mum grabbing a raspberry scooped waffle; that too three whole scoops.
I remember how her face twisted as she spotted us, she smiled at the cashier as she grabbed her card back, looking back at us with guilt yet excitement in her eyes, she smiled.
And then swoosh, she ran out; towards dad's car, that she had brought to ensure no one would've suspected her departure.
Dad rushed out after her as we followed behind him; long forgetting the ice cream we had came to get.
Mum pulled out and began to drive excessively fast, and we followed behind, with an equally high speed. I recall we didn't get much sleep that night; it was one of those to remember forever.
They didn't know anything, and yet they pretended to. Each one just awaiting a story to be broadcasted and earned from; as if we were some sort of prawns for their sick games.
And maybe they didn't deserve to know
Maybe no one did
And no one would
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