The Morgan PawPrint would like to share essays, poems, short stories and other pieces of writing by students at Morgan. If you have a piece that you would like to share with The Morgan PawPrint readers please, submit it through firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy the essay below by Junior Megan McAllister.
Written By Megan McAllister |
Step by step I inch my way up the beautiful marble stairs of Grand Central Station, becoming closer and closer to my favorite place: the concrete jungle, better known as New York City. I can’t help but to fantasize about life in the city. I strut my way down Broadway in my two-thousand dollar Louboutins accompanied by my Spring 2014 Prada dress suit, paying no attention to the walk sign that displays a flashing hand because I have a high paying job that I need to get to. My glamorous chimera has only just begun when I feel the grasping tug of a warm hand struggling to find stability. I look at my embarrassed dad one step below me, as he tensely grabs the brass railing while struggling to climb the twenty stairs that bring absolute delight to his little princess.
I wish I could say that my father had sprained his ankle or had broken his leg. I also wish I could say that I’ve been skiing, hiking or jogging with my dad. But none of that’s true. The year 2000 has no significance to me other than that year my dad, a whole-hearted, gregarious man, was destroyed. The day began as every other day on the job did; a brief hello to everyone occupying the worn red and blue leather seats followed by the mastered task of attacking the small white tickets with the oversized hole puncher. Just as my dad greeted one of his “regulars” his radio was bombarded with shouts from a coworker on a different train screaming, “Mike! Stop the train! Your undercarriage is on fire! Evacuate immediately!” Dropping any other care in the world, my dad ran through all cars demanding all passengers to abandon the train quickly. Finally stopping at the location of the waving and smoking fire, my dad jumped to the needs of the fatigued and suffocating passengers without hesitation. Heroically speaking my dad claims, “The passengers were my responsibility. I had to get them off the train if it was the last thing I did.” On September 13, 2000, an average forty-year-old man saved the lives of thirty Metro-North commuters despite his twelve fractured bones, various torn ligaments and tendons, endless gashes, and loss of a lung due to inhalation of heavy smoke. With a permanently muffled voice and troubled breathing, my dad claimed the title of a hero.
My dad is continuously reminded of his heroic moment as he looks down at the thirteen scars covering his body or hears his raspy voice straining itself to answer a simple question. At any point in time, he is able to relive the catastrophe as he saved the lives of desperate strangers. My story is a little different. I cannot look down at my arm and see a soft purple scar to remind me of a heroic deed. Rather, I see my dad struggle to walk, talk or breathe and internally inflate with sorrow and anger. Selfishly, I yearn for a dad that’s a dad, not an observer. I want a dad that could have chased me around Indian River soccer field, jogging ten feet behind at a sluggishly slow pace yelling, “You’re so fast. I’m never going to catch you!” I want a dad that could have surprised my family with a vacation because he secretly decided to work overtime a few days every week. I want a dad who can decide to go to the gym and workout for an hour because he has a small window of time before he has to pick me up from tennis practice.
My emotions are uncontrollable as I think of how I could have grown up differently if my dad never saved those passengers. I long for a life I can’t have, but I also realize how blessed I am with the life I do have. Every day I decide to glance over the scars that ruin his skin, the hoarse voice that hides his expression, and the limp muscles that prevent him from participating in endless activities because I know that is not what matters. Rather I value each moment my dad lectures me on how to hit a golf ball right or zoom in to capture the perfect picture. I understand how lucky I am to have someone to teach and guide me. I continuously look into my dad’s heart, filled with life, energy, and love and appreciate the amazing dad that I am fortunate enough to have.