A heavy pitter-patter sound hits the side of the house. Darkness fills the hallways. The only drop of light is illuminating half of my face while I check my Snapchat. Darkness covers the town with phone lines draping across fallen trees in the quiet town of Bethany, just on the outskirts of Oklahoma City. The gray spinning wheel on Snapchat taunts me as I try to communicate with my fifty Snapchat streaks. A blasting ring shoots through the house, the phone reading aloud “Bethany High School calling,” Mom quickly runs to pick it up. The school called to say classes have been canceled for the day because all the main roads are shut down due to the storm that blew in last night.
I’m happy to have the day off of school, but I’m so bored already because my phone is useless without Wi-Fi. Can’t look at any of my Snapchats, can’t send texts to my friends, can’t even browse through Instagram. Not knowing what to do with my newly freed-up schedule I wander into Mom’s bedroom to see what she’s up to. As I peer through the door I hear a slight whimper leave my Mom’s body as she’s curled up in bed. I softly knock on the door, giving her some warning before walking in.
At first, I thought she would shun me away so I wouldn’t see her cry, but since she didn’t, I hop into her cloud-like king-sized bed and hug her tight. I wasn’t going to ask her what was wrong, but I kind of just blurted it out. Still crying with a groggy tone, she spoke, “a letter was delivered today”. Before she could even say another word, I cut her off but the only word I could get out was “Dad”. Dad has been away for about two months now for work. He’s a detective and apparently a great one; that’s why they took him away from me. All my focus went back to mom, and she was shaking her head. So, if not Dad, then who? My mind was hyper fixed on dad that I couldn’t think of much else. After three minutes she composed herself enough to say, “it’s your uncle”. Mom’s brother has been on active duty for just about two years now, and by her body language, I know whatever is in that letter is pretty bad. I feel rude asking, but I need to know what happened.
She started to reach for the letter that was laying on her nightstand and handed it to me. As a sixteen-year-old, there is a lot of words on this page, so I skim it to look for only the important words. The sentence practically popped off the page, “will be sent home…” I start jumping for joy. Though now I’m more confused because Mom is distraught, not crying happy tears, as I initially thought.
I softly whispered, “but Mom, he’s coming home, why aren’t you happy?” She looks at me with the biggest eyes filled with tears. I could tell she didn’t have it in her to explain right now, so I turn on the TV for a distraction. Mom’s eyes started to slowly close, so I took this as a sign to slip out the door.
Out of pure boredom, I go into Dad’s office because now I’m missing him a little extra. I plop right down into his chair and immediately start spinning and staring at the ceiling. Three minutes go by before I feel the dizziness come upon me. Dramatically, I flail my arms into the air and come down hard, creating a booming sound on the desk. I slightly hit my elbow on a word search book peeping out of the bottom of a stack of files, so I pull it out to start doing some. Hours must’ve gone by while I was so focused on the word searches in front of me. I hear a slight knock at the door, and it slowly creeps open with Mom hiding behind it. “What’s going on kid?” Mom said softly.
“Hi Mom, I found Dad’s word search book, so I’ve been doing these since there’s nothing else to do” I responded with a slight laugh.
Mom fully comes in the room, grabs their wedding picture sitting on his desk, and hugs it tight to her chest, “I miss him”.
“Me too Mom”. She wanders over to the corner of the room and lounges in the comfy chair.
“Sweetie, I want to talk to you about something I couldn’t say earlier.”
“Okay mom what is it?”
“I don’t know anything for sure, but I don’t think the Air Force would send your uncle home if nothing was wrong, after all there has been so much talk about how they need more pilots.”
“But Mom what do you think could be wrong?”
“In the letter, they said to start looking for general doctors for when he arrives home.”
“Oh no Mom… you don’t think it could be…”
She cut me off before I could finish my sentence with just a slight shh. Tears start forming in Mom’s eyes again, so naturally, tears start forming in my eyes too.
We lost Grandpa six years ago when I was ten years old to some kind of cancer my parents never wanted me or my little brother, Jackson, to know about. Ever since, we’ve all been worried that Mom and her siblings would also inherit the cancer gene. Now hearing that Uncle Ted is coming back from California, so many emotions are rushing through my body. I feel scared, anxious, terrified, numb, and stuck in this chair. I can feel all the blood flowing through my veins, my heart pounding near the outside of my chest, and felt every last breath escape my mouth. Mom and I stand up at the same time to hug each other while the tears roll down our faces. Jackson bursts through the door wondering what we could possibly be doing during this storm, took one look at us, tears rolling down Mom and I’s faces, so he immediately comes over and wraps his arms around the two of us. We melt in his arms as he basically has to hold us up. A fourteen-year-old that has no clue what is going on had the best intuition on what we needed. And to think, just a few hours ago with school being canceled, and without knowing what the day could bring, boredom set in. As time passed, I never expected this whirlwind of emotions to come over me in only a moment.