I lay in bed and stare upwards. My hands are folded across my chest, my legs outstretched on the bed. There is a flicker of light coming in through the heavy curtains, enough for me to imagine cosmic shapes in our outdated popcorn style ceiling. My eyes are blank. My breathing is slow. I have things to say to Kari, who lies next to me, but before I can move my lips, my blank stare takes over, paralyzing me as it does from time to time.
My demons named fear and irrationality and anger have burst forth, taking advantage of my tired state of mind and heart.
I think of the accident. It replays over and over, almost as soon as my head hits the pillow. Where I was, where she was and all the calculated changes in our day that could have prevented it. I think of Stella in the next room over, sound asleep, and this new fear of death makes me want to sneak into her room and double check that she is still breathing. Scratch that. It makes me want to sleep right next to her on the floor every night until she leaves the house for good one day. I think of Kari’s broken body. I think of how unfair it is that she suffered so much and got nothing out of it. I think of how lucky everyone around me seems to be, with all of their kids and all of their hearts still intact. I think of quitting my job. I think of moving away, to some far off place, where every family has lost a child. I think of how impossible tomorrow seems, facing people and our new reality and my job.
There is a reason my lips can’t seem to form words. Kari doesn’t need to wrestle with my demons tonight. I shift under the sheets and turn on my side towards the wall, my back pushing up against Kari’s side, as if she is my grounding force, the only energy keeping my mind from drifting off into hopeless skies.
I’m scared. The inevitable death that is somewhere in my future, in my families future, seems so real and possible and close. I plead with the universe. Give me five years. Five years before something else happens.
I can hear Kari dozing peacefully and I hope her dreams aren’t too awful. I crawl out of bed and head to the bathroom for some perspective. I have learned over these long three months to not trust a single thought I have while laying in bed. I find my phone near the sink and turn it on without much thought. I see Angry Birds, an app that filled my sleepless nights at the hospital, and open it up. I start chucking tiny colorful birds, with all different special powers, at little egg stealing green things that hide in structures. Before I know it, twenty minutes has gone by and my demons have receded.
I clamber back into our loft bed, phone in hand, and continue flinging birds through the air in a frenzied, pathetic attempt to get three stars on each level. And somewhere between one level and the next, I’m sound asleep.