April 11th, 2009
6am in Goa, India. The morning was chillier than usual. The dim light of the sun had just begun to seep through the cotton curtains that draped the separation of worlds between my dwelling place and multitude of adventures that lay dormant waiting for my awakening. It was a moment of deep slumber, no dreams… just peace. It was a moment that I had needed. 3 weeks had passed since I had arrived in India and six cities later, the fatigue had finally caught up with me. I savored every moment of peace that my unconscious allowed me.
But it would not last much longer. A minute later and I was awoken into a nightmare.
March 29th, 2009
Two weeks before, I was home in Trinidad and Tobago. It was the night before I left for Mumbai, India. My father and I walked among one of the popular (and one of the only) malls in Trinidad and Tobago – West Mall. It had been my last minute attempt to drag my Dad to the mall to buy anything I may need that I may have forgotten.
“Annie, hurry up!” he said to me. He did not mean to be crass – he was right. I always take forever to shop and much like any man I’ve had in my life, there’s nothing they hate more than waiting for a girl to make up her mind in a shop.
But in my selfish stupor, I took his remark to be inconsiderate and unreasonable. I was so angry with him. I mean, I was travelling half way across the world the next day – the least he could do is have some patience and buy me everything I want. Sounds reasonable right?
He dropped me to my mom’s house. We hugged and shared I love yous but my irreconcilable dissatisfaction towards my father at that moment took away any sincerity from my farewell.
The next morning before boarding I listened to a voicemail from my dad.
“Annie, I love you very much. Have a great trip and I’ll see you when you get back.”
My friends yelled at me from the boarding deck as I walked towards them, phone pressed to my ear.
“Your passport and boarding pass. You’re all set to go”
I released the phone from my ear and deleted the message. I would talk to my Dad some time later. I would call him some time when I was in India… but I never did.
Fast forward to April 10th.
We were in Delhi, India. Soon, we’d be leaving to go to the amazing city of Goa. There was so much excitement that filled the group in anticipation.
It was 4:00pm as we finished up our meals.
“Any body wants to call home?” my friend’s mom asked.
“I’d like to call my mom” I said.
“What about your dad?” she asked.
“I’d call him tomorrow,” I answered.
But I never did.
6am in Goa, India.
Nothing had prepared me for what I was awoken to.
My friend’s mom handed me the phone. It was my mom.
“Annie, I want you to know that we all love you. We love you so much. We are here for you. If you want to come home tomorrow, we will make arrangements. I’m going to put your brother onto the phone and what he is about to tell you… It’s not going to be easy.”
Oh God, who died? Was it my grandmother? One of my close friends? Those were the only thoughts running through my head.
“Annie,” my brother said, “just remember that I love you, okay?”
By now, I was shaking. Standing in the doorway of the hotel room, my friends stood behind me – lingering. Waiting for the moment when I would find out what my friend’s mom had just told them. They were waiting for the moment that they would have to catch me when I fall.
“Daddy… He got into an accident last night… He didn’t make it.”
But that moment that my friends were waiting for – that moment when those words hit me – that moment when those words would fall so hard upon me that I’d be too weak to stand – that moment never came. I felt nothing.
I got off the phone and turned around. My friends stood there in anticipation for my grief. Tears, mourning – that’s what they expected. But I walked passed them. I sat down the edge of my bed, took a deep breath. “This is not happening” I thought to myself, “this didn’t happen.”
I pulled the blankets over my head and fell back to sleep.
Selfish. Stupid. Inconsiderate. Spoiled.
That’s every word that comes to my head when I think back to the last moments I shared with my father.
If I had only known… If I had only known that would be the last time I saw my father. If only I knew that would be the last time I would hear his voice.
I would do anything to go back in time.
I would do anything to go back and show appreciation to my father when we were in the mall that night.
I would do anything to go back to that farewell and hold my father and tell him how much I love him.
I would do anything to go back and have that voicemail on my phone again.
I would do anything to go back to the moment in the restaurant and call my father so I could have heard his voice one more time.
I would do anything to have tomorrow again.