Karin left on the late flight Friday night. After watching the plane take off, she got a lift home, a little sad perhaps, who knows how long until they see each other again, but also relieved; that familiar, slightly guilty relief of having your home and your routine back.
But at night, in bed, memories from their childhood come flooding back. Swimming in endless lakes, climbing magical trees, building secret hiding places. Spending every waking moment outside; summer, winter, it didn’t matter. The memories, mingled with the evening's goodbye are like buds; threatening to burst open, revealing not a beautiful flower but unfelt grief of their once shared closeness. She pushes it away.
But sleep evades her. Tossing and turning until the morning chorus eventually lulls her to sleep. But the shrill and incessant beeping of the alarm clock reminding her of an early morning shift forces her up, just as her sleep is deep and dreamless.
Everyone else is still asleep as she steps into the shower. As she closes… closes the screen ddd door an unwelcome but familiar sensation surges through… her, her… She resolutely turns her face up, willing the powerful jets to wash it away. It’s going to be a busy day, and she cannot be late. The feeling will pass.
Getting ddd dressed ok. She tries not to think, thoughts jerky make her nervous. She forgets to kiss he who still sleeps goodbye and goes outside. Sitting on the steps she puts on her bike shoes, slightly muddy from last weekend’s trail ride. Bike leaning aggg, agh, aghhh… against the side… side of the hhh house. She takes the helmet from the handle where she usually leaves it, puts it on.
As she gets on her bike her leg sort of gets stuck, stuck in midair; she’s confused, doesn’t understand. Tells herself it’s OK, it will pass, it will pass, it will pass, it will… she cycles through the quiet residential streets, willing her mind, her brain to cooperate. She feels cold wet fear on her back, her legs full of lactic acid. Not so good, not so ggghhhgd… gghrrrggghhhhddddd…….
Llook, llo, llloooking over left shoulder to check for traff… ffffffick before changing lanes. Frank’s Honey Bun cccc, cccafé…. Not so good, not so ggghhhgd… gghrrrggghhhhddddd…….
Someone is asking her something, they keep asking the same thing. STOP asking. “What’s your name?” Go away………………………… The voice is still there.... Go away..... "Do you know your telephone number?...... 32..? No, she doesn't know her telephone number........ Go away...... “Do you know what has happened?”
She knows then. She doesn’t want to know, but she knows. She knows what has happened. She hates what has happened. What she doesn’t know then, but eventually comes to understand is that it always follows a farewell. Unfelt sadness becomes an electric goodbye.
Photo from kepplah.com