What if you were with me when my mother called me and said my father didn't feel well and that she took him to Urgent Care instead of muting your phone, losing track of time playing Minecraft in your car parked behind the grocery store? Maybe you'd comfort me in your arms like my father once did to stop my frightened cries after I got lost for less than a minute in Macy's clothing racks when I was three.
And what if you answered my call instead of pressing your thumbs against your cell screen, gathering nonexistent resources, and building your virtual shelter? Maybe I'd smile right now, as blissfully unaware of life's cruel misfortunes as when I was ten before the moodiness and messiness of first periods began, and before I stopped calling my father daddy.
And what if you held my hand, warm and steady, as I talked to my father, his face small under an oxygen mask gasping for sterilized air, instead of keeping your eyes and hands on your phone as you attacked a pixelated dragon threatening your make-believe life as I hyperventilated with grief, collapsing in sobs in front of you on the hospital floor? Maybe I would be as strong as a thirty-three-year-old woman needed to be while her mother says goodbye to her husband that she has loved for over forty years because this is reality.