“Well, well, well. Melody, is that really you?” I looked from working desk to see Monique leaning her back against the doorframe. The feeling of elation ran through my veins as I got up and greeted her with a hug. “How have you been?”
“Amazing, now that you’re here. Everything else, sort of amazing. I can’t believe the lobby let you in! They are often strict and picky. How’s life for you in New York?”
Monique flicked her hand dismissively. “It’s not how it is in the movies, you know, where it’s shown that the subways aren’t crowded and people always find love. The City is all right, I guess.
“Look at you! Grown up so pretty since graduation! Never thought you would land in a high rise office building working in some square office, though. It takes away all creativity.” The two of us look out the full length widow, which was the size of a wall, and observed the many pedestrians lurking in the streets below.
“Yes.” I rapped my knuckles against the wood plastic hybrid surface and look at the floor solemnly. “I get to be a graphic designer for a lifestyle magazine, just as I said I wanted to be, but the dream sometimes doesn’t feel alive, at times. There’s actually a problem on my mind, lately…”
Monique slid into a chair and said, “Spill. Is it relationship dilemmas?”
“No! No. Luke and I… Luke and I are great. We keep in touch.”
“It is so much like literature and books to end up dating and possibly marrying someone you have known since one’s school days! Literature and media these days, getting romantics all hoped up only to have their spirits and expectations let down. You may have noticed I’m much more verbal than before. If you’re in the City, you’ve got to vocalize your opinion, you know? Like this—“
“My family is having a reunion.”
“Oh.” My friend’s chipper mood dims to the point that even her glossy red hair, which I envied as a child, lit down like a lightbulb. “Melody, what I said to you during graduation about your brothers and sisters—“
“No.” I stir the last remaining ounces of coffee in my cup that I had not touched since that morning. “You’re right. I should probably just move on. There are just some problems in this world that can’t be fixed, some things that we cannot gain. There are just some things in this world that are… I don’t know, impossible.”
Silence grew around us. Finally, Monique has the courage to speak up. “Oh my gosh… you’re not who I remember. You aren’t the girl who wished for Barbie’s body proportions to be more diverse, who decided to act out the dumb things that occurred in the writing club, or who decided to stick Post-it notes on the walls of the school as a prank. If you’re not Melody, then who are you?”
“I’m still me,” I assured her. “I’m still that girl you met a long time ago. I’m not just living my life in this reality. When one takes on the responsibilities of life, it will make you changes in ways you may not like. I once was naïve, but now here I am, a lot older and a bit sourer, but you know what? The world shall not bother to changes a darn thing about it?
“Here!” I draw out from my cabinet an old list of wishes I had at ten years old. “The last wish to reconcile with my siblings—it’s crossed out. I’m completely over it.” The words that were spoken out loud were all downright lies, outrageous outbursts because I was too angry to see, or attempt to see, anything with a level-head.
“What are you going to do with the reunion, then?”
“I’m not planning to go—“ Before the end of my sentence, a sharp pain goes through my skull, and I collapse down on the ground. This pain, this little salamander of fire, crawled and writhed through me. My body is curled in fetal position, and I am on the ground screaming, unable to bear the pain. Sweat beads harbor my body, but all I felt was the pain.
Monique gets up from the ground and shook me. “Melody? Melody! Somebody, help! She’s down on the ground!”
Everything I saw following that moment happened so fast, in blurs. An ambulance takes me to the hospital. A numerous amount of nurses and doctors all unidentifiable by their faces takes me to a room.
Voices kept echoing. Whether they were truly in my mind or around me, the difference could not be torn apart.
“Only 40% chance of survival—“
“Rare, symptoms had never appeared before, no history….”
“Melody, Melody, I’m going to call your parents, Luke, Amy, Peter, everyone. Oh my gosh, Melody, I swear I will call them, but please,
Don’t let go.”