Fading...

Excellence Award in the 'Writers Wanted 2012 - Legendary' competition

My dad is nice. He has a bald head and lots of tattoos. He laughs when I tell him a joke. Just like a proper dad should. At night he comes into my bedroom to read me stories. He seems normal on the outside. But on the inside he is fading away. My dad has cancer. He makes me go to school.
“School Schmool,” I say.
“You need to learn” says dad.
I don’t answer. What will learning do for dad when he is under a gravestone? At school Miss Fawn tells us sums and division. She teaches us big new words like how to spell, favouritism, and Timbuktu. But I am not listening. I am thinking about dad. She shepherds us out of the classroom and makes us run round the oval for sport.
“That’s it, Emily,” she says to me.
I am hot and puffed out. We walk back into the classroom. The bell rings. I am already out of the classroom before Miss Fawn dismisses us. I don’t want to see dad crumble. Hang on Dad I think to myself. I run through the door. Dad is sitting at the table with another man whose name I don’t know.
“Emily!” says the other man.
“Who are you?” I say.
“Emily, this is Bob, my funeral planner,” says dad.
Tears well in my eyes.
“Hang on Dad,” I say, “don’t leave me yet!”
He just stares at me. I run into my room.
Dad is nice. He has a bald head with lots of tattoos. He laughs when I tell him a joke. Just like a proper dad should. At night he comes into my bedroom to read me stories. He seems normal on the outside. But I think my dad is dieing. Fading, Going…
What will happen to me when he is gone? I cry and cry. Then Bob comes into my room. Why is he still her. It’s about eleven ‘o’ clock.
“Emily, your Dad’s been moved to the hospital,” says Bob.
I freeze. He drops a note on my bed and leaves.
I look down at the note,
Hang On, Emily. Hang On.
And I always have. Dad would be proud I could carry on without him. But he’s always there. Watching my every move.

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