Pt. 3 of 4
March 28th, 2012.
This was a Wednesday. I had a doctor’s appointment in Billings so Dad came into my room early, maybe four thirty or five, and turned my light on. I clawed myself out from under my covers, put some dirty clothes on, and tied my hair back. I walked to the kitchen, poured some creamer and Folgers into a to-go mug, and loaded the truck to head out. In the front seat I was dozing in and out of sleep when Dad’s phone rang. I could tell it was Paul calling by the horrendous police siren ringtone my dad assigned to him. He had gotten off work in North Dakota and was on his way home. I can’t confidently say what all they talked about because I just didn’t really pay attention, but if I remember correctly, Dad lost service and the call was ended. I readjusted in the seat and continued to fall in and out of sleep for an hour or so before I was woken up again by that boisterous police siren. Dad picked up the call, but there was no one on the other end.
I sat through my appointment and listened to my doctor explain some possible causes of my pain. I watched Dad behind the doctor messing on his phone. When he looked at me, he said that Steve was with Ashly and they were going to meet us in the parking lot to talk. Steve is Ashly’s dad and Ashly is my eldest sister who was living in Billings at the time, but what did the two of them need? The doctor finished his assessment, gave us the information we would need, and we started towards the truck. As Dad and I walked through the hospital, we tried to figure out why they insisted on meeting us so unexpectedly with such urgency. Dad had a hunch that maybe Ashly needed to move back into our house or needed money, but neither of us could come up with a good reason as to why they would need to talk so suddenly. The spring sun was shining through the windshield and a carefree breeze was blowing through Dad’s open window as we sat in the truck waiting. I was just picking up my phone to casually scroll through Facebook when their car pulled in and parked next to ours. I put my phone down to get out, but Dad gave me a look that told me I didn’t need to be a part of whatever was going to happen. So, I picked my phone back up. Before I could open any apps, Ashly knocked on the window next to me. Without looking at her I began to roll down the window. I heard her shaky voice ask me to get out of the truck. I really had no desire to listen to anything she had to say, so I sat there and shook my head in silence. I heard a sniffle and I turned to look through the rolled down window at my sister, who’s eyes were bloodshot with tears. She proceeded to deliver me a two word message that I couldn’t believe. In that instance I was convinced she made it up out of pure evil. Every part of my being stung with rage and I glared at her in disbelief for lying about something that would be so detrimental to our family.
I couldn’t look at her any longer so I transitioned my focus to Dad standing on the other side of the truck. It was through the tint of the back window I saw him. Before I could even blink, I watched his entire body overflow with misery. I saw him interlock his fingers behind his head and look to the clouds with devastation. I became overwhelmed with panic and began repeating to myself again and again, “It’s not real. It’s not true.” In what felt like a single heartbeat, I opened the door and raced to to the other side of the truck.
As Dad’s chin began to lower, his arms fell with an unintentional grace, and our eyes met. In that moment, I knew it was true: Paul’s dead.
Freddie-Leigh Geiger firstname.lastname@example.org