Walking Uphill Twice

 I'm walking down sprawling university steps, past the library. It's Halloween and the leaves are still orange. I just finished taking an exam in Logic, which I know I passed. I know, even though it was grueling and made no sense, that I got an A on this exam. As I walk down the hill, my boots clunking with each step, streams of students are passing me in either direction. The hill is twofold. There is a hill, and then somehow there is another hill, which was cruelly engineered so that no matter where you are going, there will be a struggle. When I reach the edge of the first hill, I get a phone call. It's mom. My heart sinks because I know. I know that there is nothing normal about a phone call from mom in the middle of the day, and I also know that no phone conversations have been normal lately. For instance, last nights talk in which my father's parting words are an ominous "listen to your mother." 

I answer the phone. 

"Hi. I just got out of an exam, and I think I did really well," I say. 

I'm trying to make this normal. 

She tells me the news unceremoniously. 

"Your father is unresponsive," she says. 

I ask her what that means even though intuitively I know exactly what it means. He's gone. But not quite. 

"He didn't wake up from surgery," she says. 

His heart stopped during the amputation. The doctors brought him back but now he's unresponsive. 

"Okay, I have to go," I say, continuing up the hill.