I wince thinking back to last week, sitting in my solarium, clinking wine glasses with Mr. J, thinking to myself that life has never been this happy or good or fucking easy. Infinite possibilities stretched out before me; a safety net of love and support lay beneath me.
I see my aunt’s message come through early in the day while I am at work. “I love you. I hope to see you in August!” August? Why August? I don’t bother to ask. I make a mental note to write back during the weekend. A prompt pen pal I am not.
Later that night, as I begin to doze off in a happy haze of merlot and “I JUST QUIT MY JOB” excitement, the phone rings. My mother’s voice is shaky. My uncle has found my aunt unconscious at her computer, our message box still open on the computer screen. He resuscitates her. How long was she there? What happened? They rush her to critical care.
I wail into the night; I fall into an unsettled sleep weaving between dark dreams and semi-consciousness; I wail into the morning. Mr. J holds me. No words will stop the wailing.
I pack and unpack my most sensible black dress a dozen times. The black garment laying in my suitcase betrays my innermost fears; it betrays what I already know is waiting for me in that hospital room across the ocean I already hate so much.
I leave the black dress shoved in the back of my closet and pack a white one instead. White for the hope I desperately want to have.