If On A Winter’s Night

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Right now, in this moment, you might as well be alive. The bad news still hasn’t really sunken in. You might still come cheerily through the door, bringing me a drink from Starbucks or a box of tea. Your boyfriend might drop you off at the door any moment now. Then I might go sit in your room and talk to you and tell you about my day. Or you might arrive home from French or Accounting class, telling us how hard it’d been even though you eventually got 90s. I’d tell you how disappointed I was I’d gotten an 80 back. We’d laugh, and I’d also tell you about how I reamed out Brett Scott today. You’d tell me I need more tact. I’ve known that for a long while. But today, can I tell you about my day today?

Today I woke up at 7:20, listened to the second half of Sting’s album “If on a Winter’s Night” as I lay in bed peacefully. Then I got up, showered, and ate breakfast while Dad made chili, saying, “Make sure Becky only takes one container of this with her today.” I was only bites into my monastery rye when I went to check my Facebook and emails to see if we were going to the mall or not. With no emails or facebooking from you, I remarked how I didn’t like spontaneity, or last minute plans. I like to know exactly what’s going on, a luxury I certainly wasn’t given today. Sometime in the morning, after Dad left, Heather and I got a funny feeling about the lack of contact. You usually text back. Why? Why didn’t you pick up the home phone of the house you were sitting? Why did you never pick up your cell phone? It gave me a bit of a sick feeling. So twins do what twins do. They snap into crisis mode, think rationally, act quickly. Starbucks was the ONLY location inside the mall without a phone number online, but we eventually got a hold of your manager Paula. She said that you’d left Thursday’s shift early because you weren’t feeling good, and hadn’t called in or showed up for Friday’s shift. Officially: why the fuck did you not call us and tell us you if you weren’t feeling good? Dad told you to! We knew you were fragile after your bout with food poisoning two weekends ago. We could have taken care of you, like we did then. You really could’ve made it. This was unnecessary, and I might punch anyone who tells me this was God’s will. Fuck off.

Heather and I click into crisis mode. We speed walked to your house. Google said it’d take 24 minutes, but we crushed it in 16. Another bit of bad news: no tracks in the snow in front of the house. Jesus. Are you unconscious in there? We pounded on EVERY window. I’m pretty sure the doorbell has a sore throat after all the abuse I put it through. I wasn’t too concerned about if the windows would break or not. If they did I would have punched the shards of glass away and climbed in. We could hear the pounding of windows echo through the house, and Heather and I were forced to conclude that any sleeping human being would’ve woken up. So we waited for the cops and paramedics. The waiting was, of course, punctuated by my restless need to ring the doorbell. My thumb was sore, my fists were also sore from pounding on the door. The cops arrived in spectacular time, which seemed anything but spectacular then. They were angels in black, one of which was a sniper. Minutes later Dad also arrives on the scene. In the aftermath his words to us were, “You two are fucking smart. You handled this perfectly.” Which is true. The paramedics aren’t rushing outside to get anything from the ambulance. Bad sign. My heart’s pounding when Dad says, “that’s not good. She’s dead.” It’s got to be too early to say that, I’m thinking to myself when the cop comes out, and says, “I’m sorry for your loss, she’s passed away. It’s been at least 24 hours since.”

In the following short minutes, as I’m trying to untangle an unruly web of thoughts, I’m hugged by a crying train wreck, who I recognize to be my mother. Seven months changes a person a lot, and you tend to notice it more when you meet them and they’re undergoing significant turmoil. Meanwhile, I’m in crisis mode, so I hug her and treat for shock. How does a person panic themselves into a watery mess? This is one of those things I just don’t understand. I believe I showed great constancy today. I had a weird day today, Becky, which is why today is a day I want to walk into your room, sit on your bed, and talk to you about my day. It wasn’t a completely bad day. It wasn’t a completely good day. It was just a weird day.

When I got back home, I emptied my backpack of things which I’d thrown together in a hurry. I put the thermometer back in the first aid kit. The honey back in the cupboard. Spoon back in the drawer. First aid manual back under my bed. The transit map back in your drawer. Your health records back on your desk. I still felt the need to put it back exactly where you had it. I’d rushed to a scene, armed to fix it, but I wasn’t allowed.

As if. As if on a winter’s night you slipped away. Slipped the surly bonds of earth. To touch the Face of God. As if.

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