Annie called today. I was thrilled to hear her voice. There was so much I wanted to tell her, but I didn’t. I can’t.
She wanted to talk about Thanksgiving break. She doesn’t want to come home. She tried to make it sound like a favor, “I mean, I’ll be coming home for winter break a few weeks later, so it doesn’t make sense to buy two sets of plane tickets.” She wants to do something with her friends.
Normally this would have broken my heart. Normally I would told her she had to come home, but it doesn’t matter now. I won’t be here. By Thanksgiving I will be dead.
I told her it was fine. I made her verify her winter break dates. “I want to buy those tickets now because they’re having a sale,” I lied. I would actually be buying the expensive tickets. The ones with no limitations on rescheduling your flight. Annie will need to come home well before Christmas.
I thought for a moment how it would be better if I were going to die closer to one of her breaks to minimize the classes she’ll miss, but there is never a convenient time for your mother to die. Just like there is never a convenient time for your husband to die.
I realized that this might be the last time I talked Annie. I thought I should say something important. Something profound.
“Have you read the Faust story in one of your classes?” I asked.
“In high school.” The subtext was clearly, “Duh, mom.”
“There are good lessons in it. Don’t try to make deals with devils, Annie. You always end up damned.”
“In the Goethe version Faust gets saved at the end.”
“Oh. That’s not how I remember it.”
“That’s okay, mom.”
“I guess I’m just trying to say be careful, okay?”
“I will, mom. Stacy’s coming with me.”
“I don’t mean tonight. I mean always. When I’m not with you.”
“Oh. Okay. Mom, I’ve really got to got go.”
“All right, honey. I love you.”
She said, “Uh-huh. Me too.” I could tell her roommate was there.
We said goodbye. After I hung up the phone I cried. I fell down and I cried. I cried so hard that I was too tired to get up. I stayed on the living room floor for a long time hating my life. My life that is ending in less than two weeks.
What happens next? Read the next part of the story here.
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