Third Place Prose
Friday night I thought it was weird that dad didn't come home by eight. We had been playing
cards every night and I thought we might continue. He didn’t show up so I figured he was driving the
night shift. Saturday morning came and I woke up early to make us breakfast before I went to work. He
wasn’t in his room or the office and I thought that was strange too, but maybe he was already out
I went to work and Uncle David called me around 3 to ask if I had seen or heard from dad. I said
no. He said he cal ed to ask him out to lunch but dad didn't pick up. That struck a note with me. Dad
never doesn't pick up the phone. As soon as I got off the phone with Uncle David I cal ed dad. No
answer. In my heart, I knew something was wrong. I continued working until five. Ryan was coming to
pick me up. I called dad again while waiting for my brother, but again got no response. I know I always
think of the worst possible things when I'm worried, but at the same time I knew this was different. I
knew he would never just not answer the phone. It was a workday.
I got home around six and checked the house. I found his briefcase in his office, open as if he
was in there working. There were two lottery tickets on his desk from 0622 and his checkbook. I opened
it. He had written a check to Lynda and then voided it out and wrote a new one for a smal er amount. I
don't know how much was in the checking account, but I assumed not enough to pay the court-ordered
amount for the month. I went to his room. I found an empty bottle of Lexapro; anti-depressants. I knew
he suffered from depression. I didn't know how long it had been since he took them though. I cal ed
Christa. She said Uncle David had called her too. She was out and told me not to worry, that he would
show up. I worried. I had my doubts. I called a few more times. I sent him a text that said, "I love you."
By seven I had just about lost it. I could not rationalize the situation. Christa came home because I
wanted to call the police and she was getting worried also. Uncle David came over and we called the
Third Place Prose
police at eight. I had dinner plans with Kel ie and they told me to go because there was nothing else to
be done at home. When I was out to dinner with her I told said I had this feeling he got into an accident,
or maybe an "accident". I knew how much stress he was under and how he had been feeling.
When I got home Christa said she had called every hospital in the area with no luck. She checked
the iPass and his wasn't used, nor were his bank accounts. I stayed up until two in the morning although
I had to get up at six for work again. When I woke up he stil wasn't back. I had Ryan drop me off and I
worked the door for a volleyball tournament. I kept it together although in my mind I knew there was a
disturbance in the force. At ten someone walked in the door. The light was behind them so I just smiled
and was about to say "$3". Then it was Christa. She just looked at me and said we had to go. I said ok. I
was in a trans. I got up and told my supervisor that I was having family problems and that I had to leave.
That was all I could think of to say. He told me to grab someone from the concession stand to fill my
spot. Christa asked if he could, we had to go. That is the moment I actually knew.
She dragged me outside. In my mind I didn't want to know. I wanted to be ten again; Innocent,
with a strong family and not a care in the world. I looked into my sister’s eyes. I said, "Tell me."
She didn't cry much. There were tears in her eyes. She nodded her head. I didn't want to hear it.
She looked me in the eyes. "They found him."
I thought I was going to puke. “No. NO. No. No!” Al I could say was no. She must have looked
like she was kidnapping me. Joel was in the car. He had driven there with her to get me. “No. NO. No!
No!” My world seemed to be shutting in around me. This wasn't my life. This was a nightmare. This
wasn’t real. This doesn't happen. This is a bad movie. This isn't my life. “No. NO. No.” She just held me.
Third Place Prose
It was the longest ride of my life. I didn't want to face what was to come. I wanted to disappear.
I asked where we were going. Christa said home. That was the last place I wanted to go. She said we
were meeting up there with Ryan and then going to the grandparents’ house.
When we got home I went to the kitchen and sat in his seat at the head of the table. I
questioned my life. My head was spinning. Ryan was there. He asked what was going on. Christa told
him "They found dad. You need to cal off work".
Ryan didn't understand why. I thought I was going to puke. I was enraged. I wanted to scream at
him "Because your father died!" But the only words that would come out were, “No. No. NOO. No!”
Christa’s eyes had tears, her throat was groggy, and she muttered that he wasn't found alive. I lost it. To
hear it out loud, I stil to this day have the hardest time saying he's dead or he died. The title of this is
"The Happening." I prefer to say he left. Or just not to say anything. I don't know how Christa made al
I ran to my room. I just wanted to be alone in my bed where I would hide under my covers.
Where monsters couldn't reach me when I was little. Where I wished reality couldn't find me now.
Christa came in and asked if I was ok. I said no. She asked if she should be by me. I said No. I said no over
and over and over. It was all I could say. I screamed it, I cried it, I whispered it, I yelled it, and I said it.
I don't remember the ride to the grandparents' house. But I remember Grandma's face when I
walked in. She never looked so beautiful. She has always been this strong woman. She has recently let
her hair go white after years of getting it dyed blonde. She didn't have her glasses on. She looked sad,
but strong. Something I wasn't. She was so beautiful to me in that moment. She hugged each of us,
didn't know what to say. I took a seat on the couch next to the window.
Third Place Prose
I sat on that couch and texted a few people. I didn't want them finding out from anyone else but
me. I know Sam and Alyssa cal ed me after I texted them. I couldn't really talk. Dave asked if he should
come over. I didn't want him there. I didn't want anyone near me. I wanted to disappear.
I sat on that couch. I thought the world was closing in. I didn't know if I would be able to find
happiness again. I felt my heart beat. It was suddenly beating out of my chest. It was so strong, but so
slow. I just listened to it. I focused on it. It fueled my entire body. I thought about my heart beating,
I'm glad it was Uncle David that found him and not me. I honestly cannot imagine how I would
have reacted. Usual y I can play things out in my head, but not this.
That night the family ordered pizza. I thought of eating, then I thought I would puke if I tried. I
wasn't hungry. I felt my heart beat and I sat on the couch. Sara assured me she wanted to come over, so
finally I gave her the address. She came over with a full lasagna dinner with garlic bread and salad.
Again, this only happens in movies, right? No one else offered to bring food that night. My grandma's
sister and her husband stopped by for about 10 minutes. They got the story and left. But Sara, her dad
cooked us a full lasagna dinner and she came over and just sat with me. She held me. She didn't ask
anything. I muttered some of the story. I don't even remember what I said. She in that moment became
exactly what I needed: A best friend. She was perfect.
That night I lay awake in bed, afraid of the nightmares to come, scared of waking up in this
reality again tomorrow. I missed my little snow globe life where nothing really substantial hit the fan. At
home there was real life problems. At school there was Academy problems. I didn't mind Academy
problems. I imagined my dad in his final moments. My Uncle found him at the yard where he kept his
semi-trucks. No one had told me, but I knew he did it. I was hoping he had just taken a bottle of Advil
Third Place Prose
and fallen asleep: Something that didn't hurt. Something I've imagined myself doing. I thought of him
sitting there, feeling helpless, with nowhere to turn, no future to look forward to. He would have to
work every day for the rest of his life to be able to support Lynda alone. The woman he hated. The
woman that through the divorce took everything from him without a single “thanks.” I thought of him
saying a prayer. I know he had gotten close with God in recent times. He kept telling me to pray, asked
me if I went to church. I imagined him crying. The strongest man I have ever met falling apart.
At some point I felt like I needed to find some paper and I needed to write. I hadn't brought my
journal home, so I scoured the house for a notebook. I found one of his yel ow pads in the basement. He
always kept one in his binder since as long as I can remember. He would write anything he needed to on
those. And now I could write what I needed to. I wrote to him. I told him I didn't blame him. I knew what
it was like to be pushed to the edge. I wrote that I hope I never get pushed over like he did. I wrote
about how much I loved him and how he gave me everything he could. I wrote that I would make him
proud. I wrote. I didn't know what I was going to do with the letter at the time, but I just kept writing to
The next day I'm pretty sure I sat and listened to my heart the whole time. It was becoming
more intense than ever. Maybe it was because I hadn't eaten anything. Christa was going to Joel's house
for Christmas Eve and I was going to Dave's. I stayed in bed listening to my heart for as long as possible,
but I knew I had to get up and shower. When I final y did, it was the worst shower of my life. I remember
standing there. I didn't care. I didn't want to go out. I didn't want to do anything. Then my head started
spinning and my vision went dark. I thought I was going to pass out. I wanted to. If I had filled the tub I
probably would have let myself pass out and drown. But I didn't. I just sat down and let the water run
Third Place Prose
over me. I must have been in the shower for over 45 minutes. I don't remember actually cleaning
I got dressed although Christa didn't want me driving myself all the way to Dave's house an hour
and a half away. She didn't want me behind the wheel at al . Truthful y, I shouldn't have driven that
night. I might as well have had eight beers in me. I could barely walk straight and my heart was pounding
out of my chest. I assured her I would be fine. I didn't want to go, but if I ever tel anyone I am going to
do something, I do it. I was not about to bail out on my boyfriend’s Christmas Eve dinner.
I sat in silence the whole ride there. I opened the window and let the cold air in. I felt my heart
beating. I tried not to cry because I had managed to get some makeup on my face. I made it to his
grandparents’ house and ate three bites of corn for dinner while playing with the food on my plate. I still
couldn't eat. My jaw cracked every time I moved it, probably because of how seldom that was.
I tried to look happy around his family. The whole affair just made me upset. I now had two
grandparents, an aunt, an uncle, a sister, and a brother. I was fine with my small family when my dad
was in the picture, but now I just felt so incomplete. I felt so jealous that they were al there and able to
be together and happy. I drove home in silence.
Christa had told me to wake up and start breakfast Christmas morning. She stayed with Joel so
she would come home right before we left for the grandparents’ house. I didn't wake up. I didn't want
to face the day. She came in and saw me sleeping. She told me to get up. She started breakfast. I stayed
in bed. She came in a few more times to try to convince me to get up. Final y I did, for her. She had been
so strong. She was keeping it together. Part of me was mad at her for it. How could she be so ok? But I
knew she wasn't. She just needed to be. She was the strongest person I could ever imagine. She still is. I
Third Place Prose
didn't shower. I stirred the gravy for her while she showered. I didn't want it to be Christmas. It didn't
When we got to the grandparents’ house we sat down for breakfast and I put some eggs on my
plate. Grandpa kept asking me if I wanted any food. I wasn't hungry. I felt my heart beating. I ate maybe
five bites of eggs. They tasted like nothing. I just wanted to go sit on the couch by the window, and that
is what I did. Eventually we opened presents. I didn't want to open any. I didn't want to celebrate
anything. I got the earrings I bought for myself and gave to Ryan to give to me. I got a robe I asked for
from Christa. I got a beautiful bracelet and hand-sewn hat from Val, and cash from Grandma, Grandpa,
and Uncle David. There was one more card I received. It talked about how I was a great sister and was
signed from Christa and Ryan with a $25 gift card to Target inside. I knew that was what dad was getting
me for Christmas. I knew it was supposed to be from him. I lost it. I broke down. I cried. I missed him. It
was Christmas morning without my parents. It was Christmas morning with a huge piece of me missing.
And that $25 gift card represented so much more to me. It represented defeat. Dad had told me it was
what he was getting me for Christmas. When he did, he looked so defeated. He worked so hard to be
able to give us everything. But now he couldn't. I knew when I looked at him that he thought $25 for
Christmas was not enough. We had always had huge Christmas presents, but this year he could not
afford any more. He had to pay Lynda $1000 cash a month, and eight months later that got upped to
$1500 and he couldn't afford it. I told him over and over that $25 to Target was perfect! I could get
groceries for school! It was exactly what I wanted! He hugged me. I told him I loved him. I miss that the
Third Place Prose
I ended up writing a ful 3-paged letter to him. I folded in into thirds and tied it in a green ribbon.
I brought it to the funeral and put it in the casket with him. I kept saying I loved him. We had just gotten
family haircuts on Thursday. His hair was dyed back to brown.
I wanted to know how he did it. The autopsy took a few days. That was their way of stalling.
Christa and Uncle David didn't want to tell me. I kept asking. Finally Christa asked me if I really wanted
to know. I said yes. She said a single gunshot wound to the chest. I was really glad I didn't find him.
Looking back, I knew from the beginning it wasn't going to be a good break. I remember not
being excited to go home. I wanted to go anywhere else. I even wrote it in my journal. I don't know why
I felt that way; I just knew I didn't want to go home. I know I wanted to see my friends and family, but
something in my head, maybe in my heart, just kept saying I don't want to go home.
Arch Virol (2007)DOI 10.1007/s00705-007-0974-5Printed in the NetherlandsAntiviral activity of arbidol against influenza A virus, respiratory syncytialvirus, rhinovirus, coxsackie virus and adenovirus in vitro and in vivoL. Shi, H. Xiong, J. He, H. Deng, Q. Li, Q. Zhong, W. Hou, L. Cheng, H. Xiao, and Z. YangState Key Laboratory of Virology, Institute of Medical Virology, Wuhan University, Wuh
Reception __________ Central Reg _________ School Clinic Annual Flu Vaccine Consent Form Return to school one week prior to clinic date Section 1: Information about Child to Receive Vaccine Please Print Student’s Date of Birth Month______ Day_______ Year________ Student’s Doctor’s Name (Last, First) Address City Zip School Name Section 2: Insurance Information _