You got a call on your cell phone from a neighbor of your parents. It seemed odd because you hadn’t spoken to them in two years and hadn't lived at home for longer. You thought maybe they needed someone to cut their grass. It’s a job you might take. You ordered another round from the bartender and answered with a smirk in your voice. Another twenty dollars would pay for your tab.
The news made you sick to your stomach. Words could barely escape from your mouth. They were sorry for your loss, but sorry seems meaningless when you have just lost your mother. You asked about your father and they said he was devastated and that is why they were calling in his stead. He asked them to. You wanted to know how and why. All they knew is that she’d been sick.
When the call ended you sat shaking in a cold sweat on the bar stool. There was a fresh drink in front of you. You could not reach to grasp it. The bartender came by to ask if you were alright. You did not speak. Instead you threw up all over yourself the bar and him. Then you left without paying.
At home you knocked on your front door. You had your keys. You didn’t think to reach for them. When Heather answered and looked at you her eyes filled with rage. You were obviously drunk and a mess and she had had enough. She began to yell at you as you stood there crying. You sobbed, your mother is dead.
She stopped her tirade, took you by the hand to the bathroom. She washed you and removed your soiled clothes. Then she tucked you into bed. You curled up in a ball and wept silently as she stroked your hair until you fell asleep.
You awoke alone in the dark with a throbbing headache. Heather was not there and you felt a panic attack come on. You wanted to call out but you were in too much pain. You laid there and squeezed your eyes tightly shut. You tried to pretend that it had all been a dream. You concentrated as if by shear will you could undo what had been done.
Heather slept on the couch that night, but in the days afterwards the two of you had never been closer. She would not let you out of her sight for a moment. She doted on you. Tragedy does bring people closer together, but it is tiring. You were careful to not lean on Heather too much.
You kept trying to get in touch with your father, but he would not pick up his phone. You called and left messages. Then some friend of the family would call back and say that he’s okay, he just can’t talk right now. This made you both angry and concerned. The one person who could explain all of this was not talking. You’d seethe with indignation until grief overtook you. When that subsided you were a blank slate.