My bourbon and Valium induced coma ended as I opened my eyes in the wee hours of the day to the perching of various birds I stir in distain. I flung my black coils out of my face cursing at the fact that my drunken self-had not worn my headscarf. The last thing I needed was a tangled afro. I had cried myself to sleep yet another night. My husband remained undisturbed with his hands around me. My guess is he had watched me do it but said nothing. What more could he say, all the ‘time heals all wounds',' and ‘she's in a better place now ‘had gotten old. All he could do now was watch and wait and stoke up on the bourbon. Yes, this was unbecoming of me. The ‘together one' but what can I say, grief hits unexpectedly. Which is strange to say considering I had seen the death take the one I loved. I got up and took on the role assigned to me at birth. That of girl, woman, nurturer of all. I lay the table as I have done in the last thousand days or so with each cup and plate ever so delicately placed. Uncertain and afraid waiting to be wiped out. A feeling I had become all too familiar with. Hand sanitizer had been my weapon, a shield and painful reminder of the constant cloud that had hung above me. I reminisced back to simpler times, filled with merriness and certainty, before the contagion times. When brunch filled our days and trash talk was our pass time. The only healthy adult relationship other than my husband had come to an end. I was lost, unable to move paralyzed by shock at first. Unable to process the fact that I would never call her again. In the weeks to follow I read and reread all our emails, ever text, every detail of every picture glued to my mind. Because forgetting them would somehow forget her. Auto piloting my way through classes, through my meetings, numbing myself with the various sleeping pills. It was a cold June day, 4 months since her death and the splashes of water did but slap harder as my trance like state continued. Washing this automobile filled me with memories of a time when this car was our chariot, transporting us to different adventures in hopes of an escape from our newly found motherhood straight out of college. Two women hot boxing in a minivan in hopes of desperately reclaiming our youth. Blasting outdated tunes and singing along like we were seventeen again. Trying to escape the mundanity of their married lives and the high paced gear life had drove them in. My heart had grown weary, tired of tears, my eyes would permanently remember the memories of this sadness. My mind would replay the pain with each earring I found that was hers. Each borrowed sweater stuffed in my closet, always had a spare because I forgot mine, because Lord knows she was my twin flame. I watched the bacon sizzle. Feet still bare and wet, hair now a frizzled mess, clothes still dump yet vastly unaware while watching my offspring laugh. Their toothless smiles as they smothered each other in syrup. Their little nappy pigtails leaping in joy just as they did in love. Uninhibited by the current situation. I was once them I thought to myself. The two of them had each other like we did. Gifted by birth unlike us gifted by the chance encounter of a period mishap. Present yet unaware,'' You are still alive, your children are healthy, your husband and other best friend is still alive'' I had constantly told myself in the beginning in hopes of jilting my spirits awake. But she had not steered clear of the sadness. She wanted to cling to the sadness as much as I did, there was no use in fighting. Giving in took less energy, less fight. Each masked grocery run had screamed imposter with every feigned smile and polite pleasantry. Each sunrise I wondered why I awoke, while my saliva had not betrayed me at night and gagged me into death because at least then I would be with her. I sat with my two children, staring into the window while my mug steamed on. I longed for my mother who had passed two decades ago. For her comforting bosom and her reassuring scone scent. Would they sit together, would they meet each other? I wondered on, pondering at what they would talk about. Mother would definitely have brought some semblance of sense. All I know is I never wouldn't have bared to watch her die too from the glass divide, while she was hooked up to oxygen. Not allowed to touch her one more time as she slipped away. Unable to throw myself on her casket in a hazmat suit at her funeral, watching as her body was cast into a pit like a mere recycled can. The smell of sizzled burnt bacon filled the air. ‘'Fire!'' my children exclaimed in panic as my adrenaline kicked in and grabbed the fire extinguisher. With it gone left a pitch black mark on the kitchen cabinet. In that moment it dawned me that life was for the living. My husband had slept through most of that and had joined us after the episode elapsed. ‘'What's smells charred Hun and what's for breakfast?'' he asked. ‘'Eggs and bacon.'' I replied.
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