There are bits of reality lying around my house. The mostly full, still hot, unplugged coffee pot sits patiently on the counter. It’s two sinks down from the cell phone chargers that are plugged only into the wall. The closet light cuts a swath of brightness through the darkened living room, cold in its emptiness. Walking down the hallway is my parent’s unmade bed, pajamas are draped in uncaring places.
Up the stairs and into the spare bedroom there hangs a carefully planned outfit for work that won’t be worn today. A hairbrush, razor and gel sit stoically on the edge of the sink, freshly used. And I, I wait upon my unmade bed, the angry red lights glaring 3:14 at me, the portable phone within reach.
It’s that day you hope will never come. It’s an hour after that phone call you always wish never to receive. It’s cold practicality when all you want is to scream, to cry, to throw a fit and demand they take you too. It’s staying in this empty house filled with silent air, wanting beyond anything to be in that car with them as they rush to the city.
Two cats. One’s asleep, the other is wandering. The wind blows loudly outside this house. Wind chimes sound their melodious call as you wail for another. You have already lost your faith in that hunk of wires incased in plastic. Ever since it brought in that call and the ones that followed. It let you down, it didn’t connect you with who you wanted.
I sit here all alone, my childhood stuffed animal next to me, my stomach growling and my mind racing with possibilities. Excruciating lower abdominal pain. It could be her appendix. Or maybe a kidney stone. What if she’s dying? What if this is my last chance to see her and I’m here a half an hour away because of the cats and the store.
She could die.
Her mortality is thrown into sharp relief, all my worst fears confirmed. But she can’t leave me. There is so much we have yet to do. We haven’t gone to Europe together. I haven’t been her maid of honor, she hasn’t been mine. She hasn’t had her two little girls, I haven’t had my football team.
She’s always been there for me, no joke. For fifteen years within a shout’s distance. But now, now she could move beyond my reach, beyond the power of damnable technology. I start to think of all the things I should have done. I should have called her more. Told her how much she meant to me. Accepted her more and teased her less. I should have paid her more attention than the computer screen, but then it’s always clearer when you look back upon it.
I can still recall that one time. We were younger and I wasn’t feeling well. I had to rush to the bathroom, kneel in front of the white bowl and convulse with dry heaves. There was no time for me to call for my mother, but no need because she did. She has always protected me and I hope desperately that she may continue. As my tears soak the paper I recall all of her.
Her light and curly brown hair. Smiling, mischievous brown eyes, sometimes behind glasses, sometimes not. A wicked smile before she tells me something I really shouldn’t hear. Her horrendous language that sends Mom screaming and us laughing. Her off-kilter humor that is kin to mine. How she always sits on me or bothers me while I’m on the phone. All the late night talks we’ve had and how much she genuinely cares.
She’s my sister you see, if you haven’t already guessed. I love-
The phone rings.
They’re at the hospital. Blood and urine samples have been taken. She’s on pain medication and if nothing comes up in the first round of tests they’ll do a cat scan. It’s all a waiting game so go back to bed. Her boyfriend just came so we’re all here. Love you, we’ll call you when we hear something.
Yes, you’re all there, but I’m not. I’m left alone here in this abandoned house. Go to sleep, I can try, but a minute and forty seconds it not enough to sooth my racing mind. I want to be there, I want to see here. I want to hold her and tell her it’s all alright. It’s what she did for me, why can’t I do it for her? I love her so much. I don’t want to be here. I want to be with her, but I am stuck here, just waiting. Waiting in this house corrupted by reality.