Almost twenty-two years ago, I witnessed my father’s death. My twin brother and I had just turned seven and it was the most magical day, until it wasn’t. The morning started with breakfast in bed. Dad brought us “happy pancakes”, eggs and water to eat in bed. He always made a huge deal out of birthdays. He would say, “If you can’t be spoiled on your birthday, there is no point in having one.” Of course, as children, it was the best day ever. What child wouldn’t love a parent to spoil them? Cameron didn’t care so much for sharing the day with me but, it didn’t bother me any. Did I mention that we got to skip school every year on this special day? Our other siblings still had to attend.
Cameron and I each got to pick a place to spend an hour or two, which was a cheat as a twin. That just meant we got two celebrations before the ultimate one, with our whole family. I chose to go to the Doll Factory. The place was a dream for little girls. It was filled floor to ceiling with a variety of different types dolls from every ethnicity and the accessories were endless. If one could fathom, it would take most of the day to get from the front of the store to the back, all while being pelted with pink and sparkles. Cameron complained the entire time we were there.
Cameron’s choice was laser tag. He was obsessed with the place. He was better at the game than most of the other players, including the adults. Each time we’d gone, Cameron placed in either first or at least in the top five. Dad joked that he must have been a hired assassin in a past life, given how good he was. Mom would always grow horns when she heard him say that, therefore we children assumed it meant something “naughty”. I, on the other hand, sucked at the game, as most seven-year-olds would. I hid in the corners, ignoring the rules given before the game started, and I prayed that no one would find me. It didn’t help that I was afraid of the dark as well, though I never complained. The game was fun for my twin and I loved him, thus I suffered in silence.
We had a late lunch, then picked up Erika and Hazel from school, our other two siblings. They sang to us all the way home. Mom called Dad during that car ride, making him aware that she was going to be late. It was the only time I had ever heard him get upset with her.
“Come on Courtney, let’s go outside!” Hazel said, as she tugged at my arm.
“Where did Cameron go?” I replied.
“He’s outside already.”
The two of us joined our other siblings in the fresh air.
Cameron plowed into me, pushing me to the ground. He was a bit rough. Mom used to say he was made of two boys within one, but he was mostly that rough with me. I was no poor sport, however. I stood back on my feet and began chasing after them in the safety of our fenced in yard.
“I’m going to get you!” I screamed.
Hazel and Erika always ran together, which made them the easiest to catch. They may have been older by two and three years, but I was the second fastest of the four of us.
“Where did Cameron go now? He’s always disappearing” Erika groaned.
She hated to lose but she was also the slowest.
“He must have gone to get something to drink. He always does that, so that I don’t tag him. I’ll go check.” I replied.
I entered through the side door. I called out for my brother, but he didn’t answer. Dad was missing as well. I looked everywhere, thinking they were playing hide-and-seek with me. The last room to check was Mom’s office. No one was allowed in there, thus it would be the perfect hiding place. I touched the handle and without turning it, I knew what I was going to find on the other side.
The week before, I had a nightmare. In this dream, Dad was on the ground saturated with blood and Cameron was pulling me off of him. I woke up screaming and crying, but dad assured me, it was nothing. We had watched a scary movie that day and he explained that, that was why I had such a horrific nightmare.
With my hand still on the handle, I remembered the dream. The door opened from the inside, seeing Cameron immediately. I looked him in the eye’s, seeing how pale he became at the sight of me. The thud of the scissors dropping from his hand to the floor, echoed throughout the room. Behind him, on the floor, Dad choked on the blood of which filled his throat. I shoved Cameron out of the way and ran to the most important part of my world. As a seven-year-old, what help was I to be? I pleaded with him to be ok, as if my words would turn it into a bad joke. Cameron’s arms wrapped around me, pealing me off of our father. The last thing I remember from that day, was Erika helping me out of the clothes that was drenched with the last moment I had with our father. ~
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