This is a work of fiction.
There’s hardly any traffic on the way home.
As soon as I walk through the front door, I take off my shoes, go to my room, change into my old pyjamas, and lie down on my bed. It’s not late but I’m through with the day.
The problem is I can’t sleep, and I know there are things I should do, such as cook dinner, call Amanda and Becky, but with Aunt Bev gone, what will I do?
My stomach wants food, but Aunt Bev isn’t here to sit across from me and talk.
If none of this had happened, she’d be home by now and we’d be discussing what to make for dinner, making it, or eating it.
If none of this had happened—
The phone rings.
I have to answer it, but I don’t want to. I want to fall asleep and wake up with Aunt Bev asking me why I went to bed so early.
The phone keeps ringing. The sound is irritating.
I really should get up and answer it.
The ringing stops and I lie there, but don’t fall asleep until very late.
When I wake up, the house is quiet.
Aunt Bev must have gone to work. Strange that I didn’t hear her get up.
Aunt Bev’s dead.
I search my memory for answers, and find her lying in a hospital bed, a sheet covering most of her, her face lifeless and her eyes unseeing.
It was just a dream.
But I know that’s not true.
I get up and go into the kitchen.
Should I eat breakfast?
I wander into the living room and sit on the couch.
I see the college catalog. I never got to talk to Aunt Bev about college. She never knew I was planning to study computers. Would she have approved?
I’ll never know. The past is closed and the future looms.
I’ll have to live the rest of my life without her.
I pick up the catalog and flip the pages without reading anything.
Is it okay if I eat breakfast?
The book doesn’t answer.
The phone rings and I almost drop the book.
I pick up the phone and put it to my ear, but don’t know what to say.
It’s the minister.
“Sir,” I say.
“It’s Adam,” he says. “Are you okay?”
“No.” I start to cry. “Aunt Bev’s gone, and I wasn’t with her.” I tell him what happened, then say, “I can’t do anything. I’m hungry but I can’t eat.”
“What do you usually have for breakfast?”
“Do you like scrambled eggs, toast with butter, and a banana?”
“Then that’s what you should have for breakfast. Please call me back once you’ve eaten. God bless you, Alexis.”