4 years ago…
RING RING...RING RING...RING RING...RING RING!
I looked up from my exam paper towards the phone that was mounted on the wall.
Even the faintest noise could distract my mind from whatever was on the page in front of me.
I watched as my English teacher slowly approached me with an unreadable expression written on her face.
“Macy, honey, I’m going to need you to make your way to the principal’s office” and when those words left her lips I thought I was done for, just because I was looking around.
“..but Miss Taylor, I swear I wasn’t cheating, I...I was just looking-”
She took my exam paper off the desk and gestured for someone at the back of the room, whispering something in their ear before I was guided to the principal’s office without further explanation.
My heart beat faster thinking about how the heck I was going to get into college if I couldn’t even finish my exam, all because I was simply looking around the room.
I mean, if you heard a phone ringing so loud in a really quiet auditorium, aren’t there so many rings that you would want to hear before you go a bit crazy and look at it to shut up.
As I entered the principal’s office, I studied her face while slowly easing myself into the chair in front of her desk.
Her face held an expression between sad and pity and that just made me all the more uncomfortable that I figured I’d be the one to break the ice.
“Ooookay, I don’t know what they told you, but I seriously was not cheating. I just needed the phone to stop ringing because it was messing with my focus. And, I want to say that I’m here so that you can reprimand me but your face kind of says otherwise… so I’m kind of confused, like who died?”
I started ranting off, ending with an awkward laugh to see if it would change the mood in the room.
“Oh Macy dear…” she started off and I looked at her even more confused.
“...whaaaat is happening here? Because I’m getting more confu-”
“Macy, I just received a phone call from your mother. Honey, something happened to your father at work and he’s been rushed to the hospital.”
That was the last thing I thought would come out of her mouth and also the last thing I heard before my mind went into a haze.
I could feel my heart beating fast, hands shaking, my chest tightening by the second and I was suddenly on my knees.
I was struggling to breathe, ignoring the voices around me trying to calm me down. My vision blurred and I could feel the hot tears running down my cheeks at a rapid flow.
I felt someone lift me from my post on the floor that I melded myself to before everything went black.
I woke up with a blanket wrapped around me and a faint beeping noise coming from the other side of the room.
I looked at my surroundings and spotted my dad, eyes closed in the hospital bed.
My mum’s head lay at the end of his bed while holding his hand.
Rushing to my dad’s free side, I took hold of his hand and began to sob again.
My dad was my rock. The one I always confided in. My taxi driver wherever my friends and I wanted to go even though we had our own cars. My number one supporter. My hero who tucks me in at night still.
While my mind was still in a whirlwind, I felt my dad’s hand twitch in my own.
Looking up into his hazel eyes that were already staring at me, my sobs became louder.
“Dad, what happened? I thought the doctors already prescribed you something for your back. They said you would be fine and should be up and running in no time.”
He stroked my hair and gave me a small smile.
“Hey baby girl, your old man is fine. Nothing major and I WILL be back to work in no time. You know me, always one for the dramatics.”
I searched his eyes for anything more and could see the pain he was hiding.
That was one of the things I admired most about my dad.
He was always putting everyone else first before himself. Always putting on a brave face to save everyone else's feelings.
“Why don’t you get some fresh air for a bit? I should be out of here in a bit and then we can go over how your exams went while we pig out on some rocky road ice cream?”
I knew what he was doing. He was trying to change the subject so that I didn’t have to see him like this.
“Dad.. you know that I-”
“Macy, don’t worry! There’s nothing to worry about. You know I can survive anything. Besides, what do I always tell you? Keep your head straight and always-”
“...focus on school first… yes yes I know”
“...And don’t you forget it! I'm fine baby girl, I promise”
I gave my dad a small smile before exchanging ‘I love yous’ and heading out the door.
My mind was still focused on him that I didn’t even register my name being called a few times.
I spun on my heels to see my other two favourite boys rushing towards me with their arms wide open.
I was soon engulfed by the tall figures and couldn’t help the sense of peace that I got from them holding me tight.
Blake Lawrence, my boyfriend of 3 months (when he decided to finally pick up his balls and asked me out) and best friend since nappies.
And of course, Isaac Kane, also best friend since nappies, our third musketeer and the third member making up our little dance trio.
“Hey baby, how’s your pops?”
“Yeah Mace, how’s the old man holding up?”
Blake intertwined our hands while pulling me back into his side and Isaac held my other hand.
I looked between the pair, my train of thought finally coming to a halt.
“Wait! How did you two know I was here? When did you get back? How did you get here? How was the dance comp?”
Obviously, my racing mind turned into a racing mouth with me blurting out multiple questions.
They looked at each other before their eyes settled back on me.
“...uhh you don’t remember babe? I was the one that lifted you out of the office”
“Yeah, we came straight to the school from the airport wanting to wait for your final exam to finish up.
We were just walking into the office when we heard all these voices in the principal’s office”
“... and when one of the admin ladies rushed out of the office, we caught a glimpse of you and ran right in.
They were asking us all these questions about how we knew you, then they told us what happened and we brought you here.”
Oh gosh, if it were anyone else, I’d have been absolutely embarrassed about how they saw me.
But these two had seen me in my ugliest moments, including this one, so I was less bothered.
I pulled them both in for another hug and thanked them for dealing with my breakdown.
Our hugging session was cut shorter than I'd hoped when I heard a commotion coming from my dad’s room and a number of nurses and doctors rushing in.
Trying my hardest to follow right after the crowd, a nurse stopped me before I could go in.
I turned my head in the direction of the voice and saw my mum, tears pouring out of her eyes.
"Mum! What happened? I just stepped out for air and...." my voice trailed off feeling the lump forming in my throat.
My mum cried louder while I held her tight, and I knew I couldn't very well have my own meltdown.
I needed to be strong for her sake, for my dad's sake and for my own sake.
I led her to the chairs located next to my dads' room and the boys followed suit, kneeling before the both of us while their arms enclosed our hugging duo.
We waited for what felt like hours in the same position before a doctor approached us.
We all looked at the doctor in front of us holding our breath, no one daring to move.
"Mrs Matthews" he started again "I'm sorry, we tried everyth—"
No. No. No. No. I didn't hear another word after that.
My mind for the hundredth time today in a whirlwind.
"HE SAID IT WAS JUST A SORE BACK! THE DOCTOR SAID IT WAS NOTHING SERIOUS!"
"...Macy, just lea—"
“NO!" I cut my mums' words short, anger running threw my body with more tears threatening to spill over.
"NO! HE SAID HE WAS GETTING DISCHARGED! EVERYONE SAID HE WOULD BE FINE! HOW IN THE WORLD DID THIS HAPP—"
I found myself lunging at the doctor before someone pulled me back.
Thrashing around, trying to break free from their hold on me.
"WHY DID THEY TELL HIM IT WAS NOTHING! HE PROMISED HE WAS GETTING OUT TODAY!"
My body suddenly felt heavy and brought me to the ground again.
“...he said...the doctors said...but he promised...he...he..."
"Shhh baby, I'm right here. I'm right here babe"
I clung to Blake's arm as my voice drifted off, my body still shaking violently.
"I'm here for you baby...I'll always be here"
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