My mother made herself into an impossibly small ball, speaking into her knees she began. “I finally became really worried on Sunday afternoon US time. I hadn’t heard from your father since Thursday morning,” my mom dove into the story of That Monday. “I decided to wake up at 3 a.m. and call him at the office since it’d be about 10 a.m. his time. And so I did, I woke up and called and called but still got nothing. At this point I was just about sick. I called his colleague, John.
‘John, have you heard from Bobby?’ I could almost hear the anxiety in her voice as if I was witnessing the story play out as I silently observed in the corner of her memory. ‘No,’ John said, ‘I’ve been trying to reach him too, he isn’t at work today. In fact, he wasn’t here on Thursday or Friday of last week either.’
At this point I began to panic. I immediately insisted that John go to the apartment to check on him, and so he did. 45 minutes later John called on the way back to his office. ‘I went over there, I think Bobby is sick, he answered the door and he was all sweaty, flushed, and well he just didn’t look good.’ This struck me as odd. I knew if Bobby was sick he would have complained to me, he’s a complainer. I would have known if he was home with the flu and he’d probably be so bored he’d be messaging me immediately. ‘John, I don’t think he’s physically sick. I think you should go back.’
‘Wait, you think he’s like, mentally sick?’
John went back and he called me from the front door. Bobby wasn’t answering and over the phone I could hear the dog going crazy, absolutely crazy as John rang and knocked repeatedly on the door. ‘Call the police!’ I demanded over the phone. John hung up and followed my orders.”
This is where my recollection of the story, as told by my mother, gets fuzzy. Not because she didm’t explain it clearly, but because when I allow myself to be consumed by the visual images of my memory of hearing about this moment at the island of my mother’s kitchen, I only see black and only hear what most similarly resembles white noise. Phrases, statements, words; this is all I remember.
- sleeping pills
- 28 hours
“I got there less than 24 hours later and was there for 12 hours total. I cleaned out the fridge, gave John the dog to care for until we figured it out, and was connected to the company’s mental health specialists. Apparently there are names, expressions, even codes for some of these things. We were immediately medically evacuated to the States. I haven’t taken my eyes off of him. The therapists say this is normal.”
My head, swimming with information, began to get fuzzy and unclear. I knew I couldn’t handle much more of this conversation. Although I was dying to know, I just didn’t want to know anymore.
And I still don’t really want to know.