I was driving Zoe to a doctors appt on campus. It was 3:00 in the afternoon and I was in a bad mood. I was sad because… I didn’t even know why. It was a useless, sadness-for-no-reason feeling which was erased from my life after what happened next. I thought about calling Meliah to talk to her about my nagging unreasonable depression, but I didn’t. She had never had much patience with that and also I didn’t know at that time that she had been dead for 4 hours. The phone rang when I was at the traffic light. It was my mom and she sounded hysterical. I was annoyed at first and almost laughed at her strange sounding voice.
“Yes, Hi Mother,”
“Where are you?”
“In the car.”
From her breathing, and from her becoming this person I had never heard before, I knew something very bad must have happened to someone in our immediate family and I thought, I hope it is Dad (he has had a good long, loving life). I thought, maybe Meliah lost the baby. “Hold on, I just need to find somewhere to pull over” I said. The light changed and I turned on to campus and looked for a parking lot to pull into. I got stopped at another light.
“Where are you?” she half shrieked.
“I’m at another light, I’m sorry, I’ll be there in a second.” The light changed and I turned into a parking lot near some dorms and let the car sit idling in the middle of the parking lot.
“It’s Meliah. She was in a car accident and she was killed. She ran a yellow light and a truck hit her van. She was killed instantly.”
“Oh Mom” I said. And my mind said, it’s over. Her chapter is done. It is over. She is gone. “The baby” I said, knowing that if she had lived that my Mom would have said so by now.
“I know” she said.
I didn’t know what to say next. I thought about when my grandma had died and my mom called me to tell me that. My grandma had been sick for years with Alzheimers and it took her a long time to die. I had ended that phone call with, “I love you.” So I said, “I love you Mom.” The words sounded like they were coming from a robot. There was no place for those words in this conversation.
She didn’t say anything back. I felt like cardboard. Then she said, “Don’t drive home.”
“I won’t. I’ll call Chris to come and pick me up. Does Astrid know?”
“Not yet. I’m gong to call her now.”
I felt sick. Astrid was in bliss without even knowing it right now and my baby sister was about to get slammed just like I just did and my heart ached for the pain she was about to go through and for my parent’s. It ached and ached for my family. Meliah was OK. She was dead. The weird thing was that if she was dead, then I should be dead too, and my parents and Astrid. We had always been a unit, all in this life together. It didn’t make any sense that she was gone and we were still here.
“Call Chris” my mom said.
My silver Scion box of a car was still idling in the middle of the parking lot. There were no parking spots open. It was between summer sessions and students were moving their stuff in and out of the dorms. There was a girl sitting on a curb so I drove up to her and rolled down my window.
“Do you know what parking lot this is?” I said.
My voice was shaking and sounded like a screeching cat. “Do you know where we are, what building this is or the name of this parking lot?”
“No.” She said, looking at me like I was crazy. I thought about telling her what had just happened so she could help me through the next few steps, but she seemed too freaked out by me already so I rolled up my window and tried to call Chris, even though I didn’t know where to tell him to come and get me. He didn’t answer his phone. I tried again and he didn’t pick up again. I tried 2 more times then I called my best friend in town, Lisa, she didn’t pick up. I was shaking and could barely dial. I called another good friend in town, Sandra, she picked up.
“Sandra, I need help.” I managed to spit out through the phone. I looked behind me and Zoe was asleep in her car seat.
“I need help.”
“Are you laughing?”
“No. Meliah was killed in a car accident.”
“What? Wait hold on. The plumber is here and he is trying to tell me something”
….my daughter is waking up. More tomorrow.