March 6, 2015 – I died today. An old Polish neighbor we had growing up once told me in broken English, the moment we are born, the way we die has already been determined. Well screw that! I want a do-over. I’m in a void, not quite there, not quite here. It doesn’t really matter how it happened. What matters is that I never got to tell her.
I was taming the paper tiger when my phone rang. Filing is the task everyone hates. You’re either paper or you’re electronic. When processing the mail or filing you’re weeding out the bills and important tax documents and making sure each decision you make is the right one. Second guessing is the bumper-to-bumper traffic of organizing. I’ve always been a paper person myself. I was feeling accomplished in the moments before the call. My folders were organized by color: red are bills to be paid, with the due date scheduled on the calendar. Green is banking statements and financial documents. Blue is client lists and correspondence. Yellow is event planning and marketing materials. I was holding a picture of us taken in our childhood bedroom when my phone started ringing. My vision was glued to the background of the image. We’d been getting along well most of the day until I couldn’t find a book I wanted to read. My side of the room was always neat, clean and well-organized. Her side was a tornado after an earthquake had hit. My face was sour and tight with subdued rage. Her eyes were puffy and her nose red. She’d screamed and cried. I was angry because I couldn’t find what was mine in her mess. We had an arm around each other and our expressions declared it was forced. I had 2 more rings left until the call would be sent to voicemail. Jacob was waiting for me to answer. He wouldn’t leave a voicemail. I placed the picture in front of the folders. I couldn’t decide which folder she belonged in. I made a silent promise to call her and remind her about that day, this time hopefully only with shared laughter.