when i first got to my house the morning after my mom died, nobody was home. my dad had driven into town to tell his mom and my mother’s dad. i walked into the three-seasons room – my mom’s room – and stood there for a minute or so. her chair had been pushed up against the back windows. her small table was completely clear – laptop moved, probably in the house somewhere – coffee cup gone.
she had died out there. i knew that everything had been moved out of sorts when the ambulance got there, or maybe by my father when he found here. a million images flood my mind and i shake my head, scattering them like dust.
the spare key is on the shelf and i let myself and k into the house. i’m mildly surprised to find that it feels the same as always. there is no wall of sadness or no haunting emptiness; it feels like any other day i would come home and find both of my parents out.
i walk zombie-like through the kitchen, the dining room. i stop at the end table in the living room and stare down at the lone piece of paper sitting there.
CORONER’S NOTE. name of deceased. time of death. case number. a phone number to call.
the tremors running through me turn into full-body spasms and i let out something between a wail and a scream. my face crumples like tissue paper and i buckle over the table. one breath, two. no tears come. i straighten up and walk back through the house.
when i get back to the door leading from the kitchen to the three-season room, i see it. a flicker of gold. sitting on the side table, underneath the little fake christmas tree we had still yet to put away, is a ferrero rocher, the untouched foil wrapper catching the early morning sunlight.
instead of sadness, rage suddenly bubbles in my gut. the cruel injustice slaps me in the face – i wonder how it doesn’t leave a mark.
“how the fuck does this happen?” i want to scream. “if you’re going to kill her out of the blue like that, at least let her have a goddamn piece of candy before she dies.”
i don’t know who i’m angry at – Fate, God, whatever Grim Reaper it is out there who decided to snatch my mother out of my life – but my throat closes and i struggle to breathe through the ire coursing through my blood.
“you terrible, cruel piece of shit,” i seethe. “i fucking hate you.”
it occurs to me that i may be angry at the world for killing her…but i could just as easily be angry at her for dying in the first place.