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The Winter Gets Colder

The Winter Gets Colder

There’s a white noise the airplane makes, as the sound of my wails soak my shirt, my hands, tightly put together, attempt to muffle it, yet only the dimly lit airplane would let me hear my voice. My tears would pour over the page, which my thumbs had already crumpled the sides of the letter he wrote to me.

Years ago, my tiny feet would reach the moon at 7 AM in Alberta winters. The small of my back would be pushed into the dark skies, as if I was catapulted by swings. I loved the winter holiday season because of Christmas and my birthday, which came two days after. I would birth snowmen and dress them for the winters, all the while, I refused to dress myself with many layers; although, my mother made sure I was well-dressed for the weather before everyday’s winter outing.

I once had a crush on a brunette boy, he lived a few blocks down the road, yet he told me he was waiting for his parents to drive him home. I told him I was waiting for mine too, even though I lived down the hill. There were over a dozen plastic bags floating in the wind in the concrete playground, which was mostly filled with hopscotch and other games to be played that were marked with faded yellow paint. We were catching plastic bags drifting in the air before he told me he needed to go. He walked away from the playground. I later found out he lived a few blocks down the road.

I walked down the steep icy hill like I always would to go home, I never fell because I knew every spot to step onto, which would keep me safe from falling. I instantly saw my Grandpa looking for me outside in front of the house. Grandpa and mother told me they were so worried when I came home, they were about to look for me and considered dialing 9-1-1 for help. My father was home too, but as always, he had laid in bed, drunk at this moment, just as he always was and like he did when he forgot to walk me home one winter after I waited for him for countless hours.

When we went to visit Hong Kong to see family during Chinese New Year, my Chinese lucky money disappeared, after supper with my grandmas, aunts, and uncles. My mother told me my father had stolen it. This wasn’t the first time, he had stolen gold necklaces and bracelets; those were exchanged for money at pawn shops, perhaps so my father could buy friends and liquor.

A margarine container with seventeen dollars in pennies was the best birthday and Christmas gift he gave me. I jumped and jumped with the biggest grin on Earth. I was ecstatic! I kept those pennies for years, until my mother had exchanged it at the bank for her own pockets and told me I was hoarding.

One day, my father looked me in the eye and told me he was going to drown himself in pills as he took his last capsule from his bottle.

He drank his water and just stared at me for a moment. Stunned, concerned, and confused, I walked away and called my mother, who paid no mind and called him a liar. Afterwards, my mother picked me up and we went to a Chinese restaurant for supper. We then came back home and checked on my father sleeping in the bedroom. My mother shook him till his head went, “BANG!” onto the end table. She called for the ambulance.

When they arrived they asked her why she didn’t call earlier, she told them she thought he was just sleeping. We were told afterwards he had taken sleeping pills. He had slept for a long time in the hospital.

My father survived and went to AA meetings, but it never stopped the endless bickering or arguments about bills, gambled money, stolen money, and everything else there was to argue about. My mother would complain about him all the time when he wasn’t there.

I was spending time with my father when I found a Crown Royal bottle under his blanket,

I told him I was going to tell my mother.

He said if I did, then it meant I didn’t love him. I told him I didn’t.

One summer, after I went camping, my mother picked me up from Kannaskis and told me we didn’t live with father anymore. He still lived in our old home, but my mother would pay for all his monthly bills till he moved to Hong Kong.

My mother gets a phone call one day, my father is bed-ridden in the hospital.

The same night, my mother silently hands me the phone. The call is silent. My cousins on the phone and my mother tell me to tell my father that I love him. I said it once and became silent like he was for over a minute. They told me to tell him it again, but I was hesitant. The call became filled with hopeless cries. My cousins, in distress, asked why I didn’t tell him more, I couldn’t respond. That was the last time I spoke to him. He passed away on that phone call.

The flight back home after the funeral, I finally read a letter from a caseworker, who was working with my father, my father told him he had missed me and was worried if I had a new step-father. He weighed ninety-pounds from his depression, but he was downing less liquor and stopped drinking a king bottle a day. Instead, he would drink several beers, which was much better for his liver. I didn’t understand why he drank liquor at the time, why he needed to fill in the void or felt so worn by life’s force. My heart tightened and the words on the letter became a blur.

I could only hear the whirring noise of the airplane, the wails from my croaked throat, and my heart aching.