Sonia woke up with a curious feeling in her heart. It was the last day of work for her colleague and good friend Enrico. She turned her face away from the wall and turned on the bedside lamp. She caught a glimpse of the small aquarium with half a dozen goldfish, on top of her chest of drawer. She cracked open the blinds and looked out through the window. A beautiful red glow spread across the morning sky behind the black bare branches of trees that lined her backyard. She looked through her closet and wondered what to wear to work. "There better be something nice," she muttered. She wanted to go to the farewell party right after work. As usual, it was another crazy day at work. Sonia had to answer several calls and emails and before she could think about what to write to Enrico as a parting note, she realized that she was running late for the team meeting. It is always awkward to walk into a meeting late and a lot of eyes lingered on her even after she took an unassuming corner spot. Sonia had a fair face, medium height and an shapely feminine figure. She was almost regretting this attention when her eyes met the dark amused eyes of Enrico. The young man had sharp attractive features that appropriately matched his brilliant mind. Sonia let out a long sigh and broke into a lovely smile. The rest of the meeting was a blur as she kept thinking about what would be an appropriate parting note. Enrico was moving to New York. She might never see him again.
The farewell party was fun. It had a huge turnout. After all, he was a really fun person to hang out with. Almost an hour and a half into the party, Sonia checked her phone. Her sister had texted her to call her Mom. She came to say goodbye to Enrico and handed him the card with her thoughtful note. "Wish you all the success ahead. Keep in touch. Love..." She hesitated about the last word but could not help herself. Enrico frowned at her and asked her in a surprised tone. "What's the hurry?""I have to call Mom, urgently". Sonia had a worried look on her face. "Let's do this. You go outside and give her a call. It might be no big deal..." He did not want her to leave without him. Sonia did as told but came back looking more concerned than ever. "Mom's sick. She needs me. I have to drive to Cheyenne." As she looked into his eyes, it seemed to her that it was equally hard for him to say goodbye to her.
Sonia breathed deeply as she started her car. "WAIT..!" She turned around to see Enrico coming out of the restaurant waving his hands signaling her to stop. "I wanna go with you." In a flash, he got in the car and blurted it out. " I love you, Sonia." "Did he read the card already? Why is he saying it today when we are supposed to never see each other again..This is so unreal..." Sonia was in a trance and felt quite powerless as the soft sincere kisses colored her fantasies. It was a couple hours drive from Boulder but it was already nine pm when they finally started. They had so much to tell each other that time went by very quickly. Before long, they reached downtown Cheyenne. The large display near the bank showed 29 degrees and 10:45 pm. Her Mom lived in the outskirts of the town, about ten minutes away. Sonia noticed her phone vibrating in her jacket pocket and wondered whether to pick up the phone. Before she could reconsider she was blinded by the headlights of a huge vehicle that came from the side lane, and rammed into the passenger side. As the air bags deployed, Sonia caught a glimpse of Enrico's eyes but they had a faraway look that gripped her heart with fear. She found herself in a chaos of red and blue lights and loud sirens when she was extricated from the car. She learnt that the truck driver was drunk and had suffered multiple injuries, himself. Couple of paramedics were helping him into a wheel-chair. A cop approached her and asked her the name and age of her co-passenger. Sonia’s heart missed a beat trying to grasp the meaning. In seconds she could see Enrico's lifeless body in a stretcher, being carried into the ambulence. "Everything is over .." she gulped a lump in her throat.
Half conscious of the surrounding, Sonia put her hands in the pocket and reached for her phone. "Mom I am here in downtown but my car got into an accident. I will be home soon. Are you OK ?" In another hour, a cop car dropped her at her house. Her Mom was sick with high fever. Sonia checked her temperature and decided to give her some ibuprofen and applied cool towels on her forehead. Around 3 am in the morning, her mom felt lot better and feel asleep. Sonia went upstairs to her room and pulled the blinds up. The moonlight shone through and flooded her room and bed with a soft light. Sonia looked out of the window , up at the moon. Tears flooded down her cheeks."I love you, Enrico...why did you leave me... I love you .." It must be her mind going crazy but she saw a speck of bright light from the moon darting towards her window. It came straight through the window and touched her forehead and vanished into her head. She felt a burning pain in the middle of her forehead and a slight head ache. She quickly turned to the mirror and noticed no apparent sign on her skin to corroborate this supernatural incident that just happened. "Was it a figment of my imagination, considering what I have been through this evening?" She brushed her finger tips over the spot and it felt warm. Rest of the night she tossed and turned on her pillow and felt bothered about this foreign feeling in her forehead. "Everything bad is happening to me today." She could not help coming to the logical conclusion.
In the morning, she had trouble brushing her teeth, the tooth brush felt heavy and was falling off her hand too often. She messed up the bathroom counter top when trying to squeeze out the toothpaste. It was a hilarious sight but Sonia was extremely annoyed when she had to clean up the mess. She felt scared that she was losing control over the simplest tasks and foresaw impending disaster. After the bathroom ordeal, she came down to the kitchen to make breakfast. One part of her wanted to scream for her mom. She hardly ever cooked anything. She didn't even know where to find the stuff she needed. What if she cannot clean up the huge mess she makes. "Oh God, please help." Sonia found strength to suppress the urge by humming a simple repetitive tune and calmly opened the pantry. Her eyes fell upon a box of Bisquick pancake mix. "Yum" she thought. Almost instinctively, she turned around and opened a cabinet door and found some mixing bowls. She easily found the milk and eggs in the refrigerator and oil in the pantry. Soon she was flipping round flat pancakes on the frying pan. Her mom's eyes popped out in disbelief when Sonia served her breakfast in bed. She smiled with a mouthful of pancakes. "They are delicious, Sonia! Oh! by the way, the yard needs some attention, dear." Sonia worked in the yard all morning. Sometimes she felt the touch of firm hands on her own holding the rake and pulling out the dry brown leaves from the grassy patches. Sonia's imagination made her think that the piles of leaves on the ground were easily finding their way into the bags. She was pretty impressed with herself at how much she got done. But in her heart, she knew she was not alone. While cleaning up in the shower, she felt conscious of her body. At night, she felt a masculine embrace and a soft sincere touch on her mouth. “Was it Enrico ?” Sonia turned her face away from the wall and turned on the night lamp. She could see her small aquarium with the familiar goldfish swimming around on top of her chest of drawer. “Wait a sec! Where am I ?”