“Goodbye” and “farewell” are unlike the parting of “see you later.” This is story number one:
It’s a blue day and not even the tapping of rain against the glass window can cheer her up. The funny raindrops against the window used to be therapeutic; the same feeling evoked when she gazed up at the clouds and imagined dinosaurs and whales made of white fluff.
She could still smell him on the gray blouse she was wearing. His red pair of Converse were still next to the coffee table. She hated when he did that.
“This is why we have a shoe rack!” she remembered yelling.
And he would just smile his big, crooked smile. Her heart would melt, but she was determined to play pretend. So she went to their room as usual, until he finished his big bowl of Cocoa Puffs and came to her to make amends.
It always took him three minutes to come to her. She remembered every tic and tock of her nightstand clock, and with them, every thought that passed her. She wished for those three minutes it took him to come apologize. She wished for all those three minutes she decided not to be with him. She wished she could combine them and make the sum of their time together even greater.
But now, the flood that ambushed her sorrowful eyes and the stream that flowed across her face was all that kept her company. Neither a “goodbye” nor a “farewell” were there to comfort her.
And some partings can be unexpected, but not uncommon. This is story number two:
He sat in the rocking chair with the bundle of joy nestled within his arms. He couldn’t really rock; he was weak from the treatment.
Her skin was soft and delicate compared to his exhausted complexion. The creases on her forehead were still shy from this new world. And the creases on his face seemed more like wrinkled paper that had to go.
So he gazed into his granddaughter’s eyes: a place where hope and promise no longer remained. Though her eyes could hardly open, the future seen from between her barely open eyelids was not very reassuring.
He couldn’t hold her for too long, so she was placed back into her spaceship incubator while his nurse pleaded with him to go back to his room.
But he drowned her out and said to himself: Kid, let’s get out of here. It’s not the journey I expected to take with you, but I’ll hop into my spaceship and we’ll go fly over the moon.
But perhaps the most unexpected partings are the ones we can foresee. This is story number three:
Transparent bottles were always emptied first thing. Some days they had red caps, other times blue or gold. There was a whisky bottle amongst the empty bottles on his dresser. And it lay on its side with a dried up stain under its spout.
She always did her duty though, without an utter of disdain. Her routine consisted of recycling bottles of booze in the bedroom, living room, and kitchen, every two weeks. Under the sink where the cleaning supplies were placed, he stowed the full bottles.
But that was none of her concern. Everyone deals with loss in his or her own way, she said to herself. But deep down inside she could never shake that feeling she had at his front door. Her hands always shook, her mind would wander into a thousand scenarios of what she might find inside, and her heart pounded against her ribs. It always took her a moment or two to gather herself and turn the key, but once she was in her brother’s house, and after inspecting all the rooms to find no corpse, she continued with her duties.
She wiped down the black dresser and made his bed. She swept the floors and cooked him his favorite meal, spaghetti and meatballs. Then she put on her coat, slid her purse over one shoulder and held her pink phone in the other hand. And before she left, she did the usual: she looked at his family portrait hanging in the hallway. He was smiling with his late wife in his arms. She wore blue and he wore green. She loved blue. She always worked blue into her outfits. If it wasn’t a bow, it was a blouse, or a t-shirt, or pants.
She missed her too, but then again she missed a lot of people. She turned around and made her way to the front door. Then something out of the ordinary happened: her phone rang. So, quite normally, she answered:
“Hello,” she said.
“Hello, is the Rebecca Keen?” asked a voice.
“Yes, this is she. How may I help you?”
“This is Dr. Spencer from Lincoln Memorial Hospital. I was the doctor on call in the E.R. last night. Your brother was in an accident with two other vehicles…”
Edited by: Lucas Gonzalez