I wasn’t afraid of the fact that he was going to die. I was afraid of the change that was about to come.
Quite quickly I got used to spending my time sitting in front of the window in my room. For hours and hours I would just sit there, watching clouds fly across the sky. As I was sitting there, balancing my previous life, pretty strange thoughts entered my head. Those days I probably looked sort of absent-minded most of the time.
Mother of course got everything wrong and thought I was sad, which was a little bit funny and a little bit sad, because she had never stopped dreaming about one big happy family living together in a lovely house with a green garden and two dogs.
We had a dog. His name was Archie and from all of these above was my mums´ only dream that had ever come true. But that was also a matter of opinion; Archie was actually a very complicated animal indeed. He hated people. This was slightly problematic, as he at least needed to get something to eat twice a day. Luckily he didn’t hate all people, just mother and Daniel, but that was already enough to make a “people-hater” of him. He liked me and I also liked him very much, even though he was a poodle which was a breed I could never stand at all. This was because we were very similar – neither of us had ever seen his father, we both were unhappy and disappointed with our lives and we both needed to show it up somehow. Archie barked and I screamed. After a while I found out that the best thing I could do was watching the clouds.
I wasn’t sad. It is cruel to say it like that, but I couldn’t force myself to feel sorry for my father dying from cancer. He actually wasn’t my father. My real father – and now I’m talking about the biological one – was drinking beer somewhere in southern California surrounded by bitches. That at least is what mum used to repeat every time I asked about the person who took a great part in the process of bringing me into the world. Clearly she needed to be a bit drunk to speak about him. If she hadn’t been fortified with vodka, she would only say that my father is a damn loafer who was never interested in his daughters’ mother or in his daughter herself. After that, she usually closed herself in the bathroom for half an hour leaving the water to flow for a good ten minutes.
However the relationship between my mother and me was hardly the perfect example of a parent-child relationship, I of course loved her very much and felt sorry for her disability to emancipate herself from loving my biological father or finding a nice normal man to live with.
That snail Daniel was another prime example. At first sight, he was obviously completely without self-confidence. He loved to compensate his long skinny body and swaying head with loads of alcohol – in this sort of thing mum couldn’t had done better. My mother simply needed someone to look after, even though there were many moments when she could hardly look after herself. Dan was just someone I was supposed to call “dad” while he was kissing my mother or beating my dog.
Everything in my life wasn’t quite that bad all the time. There were bright moments like – that was before Dan found out about his cancer and everything – that beautiful Sunday afternoon. It was holiday, the sun was shinning, birds were singing so cheerfully, the day was as perfect as you can possibly imagine.
Mother, Daniel and I set on a trip. Dan even agreed with Archie coming with us. It wasn’t a real trip; we just called it that, actually all of us bought an ice cream (except Archie, but when Dan wasn’t looking I gave him the rest of the paper back) and we made a special private tour through the town. We were walking along the streets, licking the ice cream and enjoying the warm sunshine. I had the leash with Archie in one hand, ice cream in the other. Mother and Dan were walking behind me, holding hands. For once I didn’t mind that and for the first time since mum had brought Dan in, we felt like a real family. Archie wasn’t even trying to eat Daniels’ boot-lace. It was a very special afternoon.
But then we got home, and the good spirit left our flat as quickly as the sunlight. In five minutes everything went as usual. Mum and Dan had there daily vodka fix and started arguing like always.
And then Friday the 17th came. It was October, and the rain was falling heavily. I got home quite early so I looked forward to having the flat empty for once. But when I pushed the key in, I felt the lock open too easily. As soon as I got into the hall I knew that something was terribly wrong.
Then there are only pictures in my head. Mother sitting in the kitchen. Mother crying till midnight every single night. Daniels’ swaying head loosing its’ hair. Like I’ve said - I never learned how to like Daniel. I tried, I really did. But for me, he was only another of my mothers´ bad choices. When she told me about his cancer I was pretty shocked. Still, death was something that didn’t belong to my world. Of course, people die every day – on television, in books, in computer games. But not people around me. Not the people I know. And despite of all the beating and fights and all the screaming, I didn’t hate Daniel – he was only making mistakes constantly.
Mother wasn’t very practical. One day, it was after they finally took Dan to the hospital, I asked her about our future. Like where would we go, what we would do? There were no living relatives, not many friends. She shouted at me for 20 minutes; “how can you be so heartless?” and “your father is dying and you’re asking me, what is our new flat going to look like?” I heard that maybe one hundred times during that half an hour. I didn’t waste energy to explain her that Dan wasn’t my father; he and mother weren’t even married. He started living with us nine moths ago. A day did not pass without a huge argument.
What could we do? Nothing. We didn’t celebrate Christmas; there was no point to do that. Instead, on 24th December we moved to a little flat with two rooms and waited for Daniel’s death. We both hoped it wouldn’t come. But we could do nothing against it, we just watch the clouds every day.