Two-hundred-forty-seven hours ago you stopped talking. I should have known then that something was wrong, but this was the fourth time in one-hundred-sixty-eight hours that someone had warned me you were going to stop breathing. After the third time I stopped worrying.
Two-hundred-forty-four hours ago I heard my mom crying, a sign that I should find my way to where she was and see what was going on. I found her wrapping herself around you so tightly that I’m surprised what you had left of a body didn’t break.
Two-hundred-forty-four hours ago I never heard someone scream as loud as my mom did when you stopped breathing. When she let herself drop to the ground I could hear you saying not to worry about it but I don’t think anyone else heard you besides me. I held your hand but your grip loosened around mine.
Two-hundred-forty-one hours ago I saw my brother lighting up a cigarette on our front porch. No one said anything and maybe that’s because he’s twenty now. I asked my grandma if she thinks you would have said anything about it, for the first time in two-hundred-forty-one hours someone smiles.
Two-hundred-forty-one hours ago I sat with you. It took me a half hour to realize that you weren’t the body lying in front of me. It hadn’t been for three hours at that point, or maybe it hasn’t been you for longer than that.
Two-hundred-forty hours ago I hid in the dining room with my aunt. I heard them walking down the stairs and buried my face deeper into her shoulder. I knew what was happening and I couldn’t bring myself to look up. They carried you out of our house and I’m not sure where they put you after that.
One-hundred-twenty hours ago I stood awaiting a procession line of people. All offering stiff hugs and tissues, I couldn’t look into the eyes of anyone.
One-hundred-twenty hours ago I heard “Calling Doctor Love” and “Fat Bottomed Girls” played in church. I know it would have made you laugh but the funeral director did not find it quite as funny. When he listed your family he left out my name. I sat still next to my mother and pretended I couldn’t feel everyone’s eyes shift over onto me.
Ninety-six hours ago I had four people tell me that the disease changed you. Three of them told me what happened to you wasn’t fair. Two went on to tell me that regardless of how you acted your last one-thousand-four-hundred-sixty hours you still loved me. I didn’t need them to remind me.
Ninety-six hours ago I made two bad decisions and used you as an excuse for both. It wasn’t fair to either of us.
Ninety-two hours ago I listened to “Crocodile Rock” for the first time since we sang it during karaoke. You did most of the singing then, considering you only pulled me in to sing the obnoxious “la la”part. Hearing this song again made me the happiest I had been in two-hundred-forty-seven hours.
Forty-eight hours ago my mom gave me the shirt you wore when we went to the Father Daughter Dance. It hasn’t left my side in forty-eight hours and neither have you. I think maybe you’ve been there longer than forty-eight hours but I’m not sure.
I haven’t felt anything in two-hundred-forty-seven hours, I don’t know if any of us have. Doctors would tell me that you stopped feeling two-hundred-forty-seven hours ago and that we should probably wait a few more hours until we expect to feel anything again.
Payton Cianfarano is a student at Lincoln Park Preforming Arts Charter School where she has been studying Literary Arts for four years. She is currently a staff member on the schools award winning literary journal, Pulp, and a pioneer in the field of becoming one’s own critic.
2 responses to “Hours”
Oh, Pay, you are an amazing young lady. How proud your family is. I know Paul’s love will surround you for the rest of your life.