7 MINUTES IN HEAVEN

My name is Rufy, I’ve got a wild imagination and this didn’t come naturally as an innate quality. On the contrary, the gravity of my parents’ reckless abandon, coupled with other people’s negligence, led to an extraordinary sense of belonging I acquired from the company of inanimate objects around me. As a child I was raised by “plastic people” who were rather invisible: an illusionary father and an irresponsible mother under the influence of amnesia. My whole life was meant to be a circus with bright lights, crazy characters and motivational music but alas it’s not, it’s the entire opposite. Painting this scenario would feature one’s dream slowly sinking while the nightmares resurface. Waking up every day only to watch your hopes and expectations sucked into a big black hole.
On new year’s eve in 1979, my father embarked on a journey along with my mother to monitor a shooting star. It was a cold night in December and he’d hoped the discovery of this amazing heavenly body was going to change their lives forever. He’s an ardent astrologist with so much enthusiasm, not to mention how steadfast he was about actualizing his wildest dreams. My mother wore a white scarf over her favorite poncho made of leopard skin, and my dad put on a cabby woven in camouflage. They packed some light dinner in a hamper along with a bottle of wine to celebrate my dad’s accomplishment incase his quest turned out to be a successful one.
On the 1st of January 1980 at 01:00 PM, my parents woke up on their hospital beds staring at ceiling boards and four walls. Their beds were arranged side by side such that they stared into each other’s eyes every five minutes. Dad was about to force a smile the next time their eyes would meet to prove his consciousness, suddenly someone’s footsteps walked into the picture; an unwanted distraction. She came towards them in a soft voice “Hello there, you’re in Pins and Needles Hospital and I’m Dr Diaphragm. You had a terrible car crash last night and you were rushed here. It’s a wonder all three of you made it out of the wreck alive!” Mum wore a blank look and remained silent as the lady spoke. Dad thought she was talking to someone else when she mentioned a third person in her statement, but realizing they were the only ones in the room he dragged his weight up. He buried his face in his hands and shook his head in a shaky voice saying “ It..it happened sooner than we expected, it ha…hhappened sooner than I thought….the baby… it’s..he’s here already? But he’s not due until February, a month after my discovery.” Where’s my camcorder, my camera? My telescope? My records, everything I wrote yesterday….” Dr Diaphragm stepped closer to dad and said “Sir am going to ask you to please calm down right now, all was lost in the wreckage as the rescuers found nothing to salvage. You had so much to drink before the accident but your health and safety is what matters to us now. Your wife’s still regaining consciousness and the baby’s under intensive care. So I’d suggest you get some rest while we finish running a few tests.”
Mum was peacefully snoozing as dad sat down and thought about the entire episode they’d had the previous night. It was meant to be a romantic ride with soundtracks, fireworks and a mighty achievement in the end; a turning point that was going to make history for a man who dreamed about
being the hero of astrology someday, but in the blink of an eye he gave it all away. Discovering that shooting star was going to be the start of something new for my dad: his career would fall right back into place, he’d win mum’s heart once again and the big hit was finally going to make them as famous as Neil Armstrong. If only she’d known she wouldn’t have carried the wine bottle along, but mum knew what this discovery meant to dad and felt if it was going to be worth celebrating, it should be celebrated in grand style. Little did she know that it was going to be the last dose of happiness she’d ever feel in her life in a very long time. Dr Diaphragm walked in a few minutes later with the results “ Well, the test results are out but we have a slight problem” she said “ Mr Riddle, if you can steer clear of alcohol for now or abstain completely, you’ll do just fine. However your wife’s concussion has put her in a state of amnesia so time and time again she’d have to be consulting a therapist here at the hospital. She’ll be having flashes from time to time and forgetfulness is going to be a part of her life. And as for the baby perhaps you’d want to keep him here a little longer so as to offer the proper attention that he needs.” Dad hesitated for a minute and before he could decide mum spoke in a sympathetic voice “ Honey? what’s wrong with me? Am I going to die?” Looking at her stomach she spoke in a low voice “ Whh where is my… the baby… where is my little baby?” “ Well she seems pretty fine to me” dad said to the doctor “ Sir she may be fine this instant but as the day unfolds she might encounter a lot of challenges: flashes, blackouts, minor head aches and more” said Dr Diaphragm. Mum was in a confused state but she still needed to see her beautiful bundle of joy, a bump she’d been carrying in her belly for the past 8months “Can somebody please tell me what’s going on? I want to see my baby. Where is my baby?” She started yelling out in a higher tone this time for attention. To appease mum, dad cuddled her up and said “ Honey, our baby’s fine and we’ll be leaving as soon as it’s safe to carry him home.” “Safe? Is he in some kind of trouble or something?” mum asked “Ralph I need to see our baby right now! If he’s alive then why can’t I see him?” She kept insisting “baby, relax, now you’re going to hold my hand and we’re going to walk out of this room and we’re going to see our son okay?” said dad in a very low tone.
48hours later we’d been discharged and taken home safe and sound. Mum was on thorough medication and dad wrestled with the urge not to break his teetotal castle of glass. Father , mother and child were united for the first time in a single apartment in California. I won’t say this painted a perfect family portrait but it’s all we had, our house was a building of broken dreams where the last filtering light which proved to remain optimistic was me. Even Stripes the house pet had disappeared; a brown and black cat my parents were quite fond of before my birth. At least it was one thing that brought them together as a family. Life was going to be hard considering dad had missed out on the greatest opportunity in his life, mum had lost the mental capacity to remember what my face looked like and I had just woken up in the crossroads; taking in the bitter and leaving out everything sweet.
The real story begins when I am about 2 years old. My name is Rufy Riddle, a brown-eyed African American with a curly bulb of hair at the center of my head. Unlike most kids my age am not playful, I am a quiet one with a rather curious approach towards my surrounding. I love bananas and I live inside a play pen at the corner of my parents’ living room in California. Every day is an episode for me having to go through plenty of hours unnoticed by the people who are supposed to matter to me the most. Since dad’s failure to deliver his shooting star story and the tragic accident, he’s been all out of his element. Nothing really matters to him anymore, so at this juncture I think it’s safe to say he’ll never care a straw
about anything at all. He’s still unemployed, redundant and the loss of Stripes has taken a heavy toll on him. Sometimes he walks in and turns on Animal Planet on the TV, watching shows on cats makes moments quite reminiscent of the good old times. It actually seems to get him going for a while.
Mum’s situation is much worse, though she’s..

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