I was given an assignment in my college english class to write a narrative, of which we would start off with telling the end of the story, then going back to the beginning and telling it from there. I really like how this story turned out. I am also open to suggestions and/or critiques!
It was three in the afternoon on a Monday. Kids who had just gotten out of school were walking down the street with their schoolmates; some were young and walking with their parents. An ambulance, three fire trucks and scattered police officers, along with an increasing crowd were getting the curious attention of passerbys. As the people of New York City gathered on the side walk, the NYPD scrambled to find a solution to the crisis in hand.
“We need everyone to just back up and give us some room!” the captain of the New York Police Department shouted across the crowd as calmly as he could for their sake, but it was difficult. He then turned around and shielded his eyes from the sun as he squinted upwards towards the fifteenth floor of a business building to check on Alex Vantin, who had his body propped on a ledge that was only big enough for his feet to stand on.
Everybody was staring up in awe, watching, waiting for something to happen or not happen. Alex looked up to the sky with tears in his eyes. He did not like how fast his life changed so dramatically. He didn’t want to think about his dad being gone. His father was his role model, someone who was always there for him. Alex so desperately wanted to help his father, but what could he have done? He was hopeless. He decided he had given up and didn’t want this life and before the policemen could do anything to save him, Alex leaned forward and took a deep breath and pushed off of the building. He let his body go limp as he shut his eyes. He felt as if his stomach was in his throat and he could hear the cries and screams of panic and fear right before crashing down onto the very unforgiving pavement.
All the spectators were ushered away from the scene, as the ambulance took place of the crowd. Alex Vantin’s body lay lifeless on the concrete and was pronounced dead once he hit the ground. The paramedics looked with despair towards the policemen and back at Alex’s body, and then decided to take any belongings of his out of his pockets to give to his immediate family members. The first thing they pulled out was his cell phone. It was, amazingly still in-tact and they opened it to see if they could find a family member’s number. Its recent calls came up to show he had a couple missed calls and a voice mail from Robert Vantin and Mary Vantin.
Alex was eighteen years old and an average student in high school. He had an older sister named Mary who was attending Yale University with perfect grades and a full paid tuition. His mother, Jacklyn was always going to the bar to drink and it only amplified with the divorce between her and Alex’s father, Robert. Alex had always looked up to his father and was much closer to him than he ever would be with his drunken mother. Robert went to every single one of Alex’s games and was constantly cheering him on in school sports when he was younger. He had also helped him with homework and always tried to convince Alex that he was smarter than he believed he was.
When Alex got his license, he would always go to his father’s house and was usually over there more than his supposed home with his mother. One Sunday night, after hanging out with his friends, Alex stopped by at his father’s house, where he would always find his dad sitting on the leather Lazy-Boy chair in the living room, watching football and drinking iced tea. Alex arrived and noticed that none of the lights were on in the house, not even the living room’s lights, which could usually be seen through the front window of the house. He sauntered up the walkway, did a slight knock on the door, then let himself in, just as he always did.
“Dad?” Alex asked as he looked into the living room.
“Yes, Alex. I’m right here, son, Robert said.
“Why are you sitting in the dark?” Alex wondered aloud as he flicked on the light.
“Alex, I have something to tell you.” Alex slowly sat down on the ottoman in front of his dad. “I saw my doctor today and found out I have a cancerous growth in my brain. They told me I only have twelve months to live”, Robert said with a sigh as he buried his face in his hands. Alex’s mind went blank; the words him like ton of bricks. There was just the stillness of the house and the ticking of the clocks for a while until Alex finally thought of something to say.
“What do you mean?” Alex questioned, breaking the silence.
“Remember when I was telling you about that headache that kept coming back?” Alex nodded his head, as he supported his head with his hands and his elbows on his lap. “Well, I went to the doctors and got some tests done, and they found something on my brain. They said it was a cancer eating away at my brain and it would be a miracle to completely destroy it and save me. I’m sorry, Alex.”
After shedding some tears and hugging his father, Alex had to head home, only because he had school in the morning. That night, while Alex was driving home, the forty minutes it usually takes felt like it took forever. Once he arrived at his house, he sat in his car for a few extra minutes, taking in it all in. His dad was actually terminally ill, it wasn’t a dream.
“I wonder if Mom and Mary know,” Alex thought to himself. “If mom knows, I doubt she’ll be home at all tonight,” he scoffed. Alex opened up his cell phone, scrolled through his contacts to his sister and pressed the call button. It went straight to voicemail. “Hey Mary, it’s me. Um . . . I saw Dad tonight and well, I don’t know if he’s talked to you yet, but – dad has cancer,” he blurted out. “Don’t call me back. I’d rather not talk about it. You have Dad’s number though, so call him. I bet he’d really like to talk to you. Love you.” Then Alex hung up.
Alex walked into his house; Jacklyn was gone, as usual. There were empty whiskey bottles everywhere.
“Home sweet, home,” he mumbled, as he staggered to his room and dropped down onto his bed where he fell asleep for the night. The next few days were busy with school, along with stress with his dad on his shoulders, but Friday finally came and Alex was eager to go visit his dad. After the bell rang, Alex drove to his dad’s house. Alex walked into the house and called for his dad.
“I’m upstairs in my room!” Robert shouted down to Alex. Alex walked into the bedroom and Robert was packing his clothes into a rather large suitcase.
“What ‘ya doin, dad?”
“I’m going to stay at the hospital. They want me to start the therapy as soon as possible and they said it would help if I just lived there. I leave tomorrow morning.” Robert seemed to have a smile on, but Alex could tell his dad was scared underneath it.
“Well, I hope it goes well,” Alex said. “Do you think I could drive you to the hospital?” he asked nervously.
“I don’t see why not, son,” Robert said with a smile.
On the morning of the Saturday that Alex’s father was heading to the hospital, Alex tried not to let himself think too much about what was going on. He took a shower and headed to his dad’s house. Robert was sitting on the porch swing with all his stuff. He wanted to start as early as possible with the therapy, so he could get better, sooner.
On the way to the hospital, Robert noticed his son’s grip on the steering wheel, as his knuckles were turning white.
“Alex, are you sure you are doing okay, with school and everything? I know you care a lot about me, but don’t exhaust yourself worrying about me. I’ll be fine,” Robert said, trying to sooth his son’s nerves.
“Dad, I’m fine, really,” Alex defended himself. “I – just – don’t like driving on the highway . . . that’s all.”
Robert was aware that Alex had just brushed off his feelings and covered them up with an excuse. He didn’t want to embarrass his son, so he just kept his mouth shut, but he did know something was up with Alex. He hadn’t been quite like himself lately and was acting quieter and more tense than usual. He decided to himself that it must just be the stress. They arrived at the hospital and they checked in at the front desk. A young nurse with long brown hair showed them to Robert’s room.
“If you need anything, just press the button and a nurse will be in to assist you,” the nurse said politely, as she opened up the shades to the room, which helped illustrate the colors in the room.
“Thank you,” said Alex and Robert. “What was your name again, miss?” asked Robert.
“Oh! It’s Alicia, sorry!” said the nurse.
“No problem!” Robert said, and the nurse swiveled to leave the room. Robert looked at the backside of the nurse, then back at Alex and winked. Alex shook his head with a slight smile in the corner of his mouth.
“So, you’ll be okay staying here?” Alex asked.
“Yes, I will be fine, son.” Robert assured. “You should head home. I know your finals are coming up, and you need to study for them. Once I get the number for this room, I will give it to you and I will call you when it is possible.”
Three months fly by. Alex’s grades has been dropping and his social life isn’t doing too well either. It was mid-day in March, and Alex’s cell phone started to ring; it was his sister, Mary.
“Hey big brother! How’s it goin’?” Mary said cheerily.
“I guess I’m doing alright,” Alex replied. “What are you calling for?” he asked.
“Well, I feel like I haven’t talked to you in ages and I was just thinking about how crazy-fast time has flown . . .! It’s unbelievable. I just hope this therapy is working. I’ve been praying for him,” said Mary.
“Yeah . . .” Alex sighed.
“You okay? How’s school going?”
“I’m failing all my classes, except for my English class. My teacher says my writing is a bit dark lately, but very good work otherwise,” Alex said as he smirked, humored by his teacher’s thoughts toward his writing style.
“Alex! Does dad know? He would be so let down if he knew that!”
“No, I wouldn’t be able to break it to him. He’s already going through so much right now”
“Well, why are you failing your classes in the first place? Is it those friends you hang out with?” Mary questioned.
“Nah,” Alex rolled his eyes. “I don’t really hang out with them anymore. Most of them moved away or got new friends.”
“Alex, I’m really worried about you. You sure you’re okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine, sis, but I gotta go. I got this video game I wanna play. I’ll talk to you later, okay?”
“Okay, Alex,” Mary said warily. “Love you . . .”
“Love you too. Bye” and Alex hung up.
It was almost May when Alex found out that he was failing too many classes, and he was not going to be able to graduate. This was a big let down to him and it would be an even bigger let down to his father if he knew. He decided he didn’t want to go to school anymore, since he wasn’t going to graduate anyways. Since being home more, he also had to spend more time with his mother, who only seemed to trigger a new bad temper he had recently taken keen to. In order to stay calm, Alex took a walk one day and sat on the side of the road to think about how much his life has changed.
“This is unreal,” He thought to himself as he threw a couple pebbles at a tree.
Alex started to walk back home and stepped inside the house to find his mom sitting at the kitchen table. He then opened the fridge to get a cup of orange juice.
“Have you heard from your dad lately?” Jacklyn mumbled.
“I talked to him a couple weeks ago. He said he was making some progress. Why – have you?” “The doctors called. They said he had a seizure and he was in a medicine-induced coma and that they were doing the best that they could to help him stay alive.”
Alex immediately went into defense mode and knew to keep his mouth shut, because she never had anything nice to say, especially about Robert. He stormed off into his room and laid down on his bed and screamed into his pillow at the top of his lungs. Things weren’t going his way at all and he was the lowest he could be. He didn’t want to talk to anyone at the moment, he didn’t want to leave his room and he didn’t want to eat anything.
It had been a couple days since the bad news and Alex hadn’t gotten any sleep. He had dark circles underneath his eyes and he looked like a zombie. He had been contemplating something that would change his life more than it already had. He had all the time in the world to think about these things, since he wasn’t sleeping anymore. He knew what he wanted to do and he was going to do it. Nothing could change his mind now. He got out of his bed, took a shower, got dressed and walked through the house and past his mother, who almost choked on her shot of tequila she was taking to see him actually leave his room. He didn’t say anything to her. He just kept walking right out the door and straight towards his destination.
He knew of a tall building a couple of blocks away. He had always looked at it when he walked to school and loved how tall it was. He walked right up to that same building and through the doors; It was the building where his mom used to work when he was younger. Some of the people recognized him and waved. He walked to the elevator and got in once the doors opened. He pressed the button for the fifteenth floor and waiting ever so patiently for the doors to open again for his floor. He noticed the elevator music that was playing was “I believe I can fly” and he began dancing to the song, loving the coincidence. The doors opened and he continued his journey. As he was walking, his phone started ringing. He looked at it to see that his sister was calling him. He immediately silenced his cell phone and shoved it back into his pocket.
He walked into the meeting room, which was empty. He knew there was a big window that he could fit through and that’s just what he did. He crawled through the window and stepped onto the ledge just big enough for him to stand on. He could see into the windows of people’s offices of the building across the street and people could see him too. He could see the fear in their eyes when they made eye contact. He knew they were calling the police, but he didn’t care. He didn’t care about anything anymore. His whole life had gone downhill in the past half year.
Soon, people were crowding around the bottom of the building. Police officers also arrived, along with fire trucks and ambulances.
“Well, at least I’ll be taken care of once I’m down there,” Alex said sarcastically. “Hell, I wish I could do something to help you, dad, but I’m just a hopeless teenager,” he said to himself as he shed some tears and looked up towards the sky, maybe to pray, maybe to look for hope. He then pushed himself off the building and he descended at a rate that was so fast, there was barely enough time to think.
Alex’s body hit the ground and his body instantly went lifeless. Paramedics rushed towards Alex’s body and checked to see if there was any chance he was alive. One paramedic reached into Alex’s pocket and pulled out his cell phone to check if there was a number of a family member to get a hold of to let them know of the situation.
In Alex’s recent calls, there were missed calls from Mary and a missed call from his dad, along with voicemails from the both of them: Voicemail 1 from: Mary Vantin: “Hey, Alex! You need to call me back! Dad just called. Yeah, that’s right. Dad called me! He pulled through his coma and he said he was doing fine! You have to call him! I love you and I hope this made your day!” Voicemail 2 from: Robert Vantin: “Hey, bud! They thought that I wasn’t gunna make it, but I sure showed them, huh? They said while I was in the coma, that they had to do emergency surgery on my brain, and while they were doing that, they were able to get rid of the cancer. I did it! I was so worried I wasn’t gunna make it, but I did! Call me when you get this. As soon as I get out of here we’re goin out to eat! I love you!”