'Suspicious'. It was an ominous word, a word that; once it had slithered its way out of Dr. Turner's thin lips, had latched onto my chest and used it as a feeding source.
Papa was worse today, perhaps the serpentine word was also devouring the remains of his consciousness. His hollowing cheek bones stood to attention when he faltered from sleep that dusky midday, somehow over night his skin had sallow-ed more; his features now were pasted with the jaundiced hue of an old bruise.
"Has he phoned?" Papa spluttered, his voice spilling over with fatigue and a pinch of fear. I wearily shook my head. His eyes held such comfort, childhood laughs coloured his pupils; weekend picnics tinted his irises. A tangle of seemingly unimportant hours and bedtime stories that now I ached for.
Then the noise came.
The piercing shrill penetrated both of us and we shared a glance of unspoken bewilderment.
"Hello..." I muttered into the receiver reluctantly. The words that returned were heavy, they clumsily tripped over one another as I processed the facts. It's odd how specific words paint your day. That day was painted dim grey pastel by a battle ground of 'CAT scan', 'inoperable' and 'metastasised'. They tasted of dust when I regurgitated them to Papa's walking ghost.
So there we were, a zombie-man, a monster in his lungs and a frozen young son. We let the chilling minutes tick past as we pondered on the next weighted steps that were to come.