It was time for Sullivan to go see Eva again. It had been a while since she went to a counseling session and the flashbacks were getting more intense lately. She thought a good sit down with her favorite counselor would do her some good. Plus if she didn’t take an hour to talk about herself the narcissist in her would lose her mind.
She was back in the hideous doctor’s office waiting room. Eva slid open the door and they headed back to her cozy office. She curled up in the chair next to Sullivan and Sulli just started to spill it. They had gotten to the point in their relationship Sullivan didn’t need a ‘hello, how are you doing?’ or any type of generic greeting. Eva sat listening as she always did, popping in with helpful hints and advice that Sullivan needed to hear. Gosh it felt so good to get things off her chest.
Being a caretaker to her Dad and a Mother to her son had become overwhelming over the last couple weeks. Her Dad was supposedly getting better but that was hard to believe considering the track record of other people in her life, or no longer in her life for that matter. He was learning to swallow again, trying to eat a little food everyday, and still getting feedings through his feeding tube. Despite all of this he was still losing weight. They were both naturally skinny but he was under 110 pounds. It was scary. It was easy to talk about with Eva, but the elephant in the room was that all this was very, painful. Sullivan didn’t acknowledge the aching and Eva didn’t make her. It made the trust between she and Eva that much more solid. It gave Eva a pass to give her the orphaned dog in the pound look. Sulli did not mind. They only had an hour and Sullivan never got to say everything of pertinence that was going on. There were some things that were left out of their conversation she didn’t think of until she left.
She didn’t get a chance to tell Eva about Matt’s girlfriend. Matt didn’t even get to tell Sulli about his girlfriend. Sullivan told Eva about the awful video’s she’s been sending. The GoFund me account she found online displaying his crushed car and crushed body, begging for money to pay for his medical bills. The sadness of Matt’s girlfriend sitting there talking to him. She was expecting a response but was only receiving slow nods or silent mouth movements. Sullivan felt he was already gone. Any part of him that may be left wasn’t him at all. Still she watched, kept in touch, and tried to be supportive. Sullivan’s experiences have jaded her, made her think death was inevitable in situations like Matt’s.
Maybe it’s better Sullivan didn’t get to tell that stuff to Eva this time around. One tragedy at a time, she was sure, was enough. Sullivan was definitely over run with her thoughts. That’s why she was isolating and getting lost in her memories. Cleaning and reorganizing her house over and over again to distract herself. It never worked.
Saturday afternoon Sulli was gazing out her ‘Rapunzel’ window. She had moved to the attic after Jude was born. The master bedroom was no longer big enough to harbor all her stuff and Jude’s too. Looking out the Rapunzel window, she could see three blocks away from her house.
The snow, sleet, rain mixture was falling fast and then melting, then falling sleet again, then turning to rain, then melting. The new typical Pittsburgh weather for this time of year. She daydreamed out the Rapunzel window, eyes glazing over. Opening the door to the back of her memory. The darkness cleared, and then she started to remember.
Sullivan settled back into her routine at Verdetto’s, with her tail between her legs. Things had gone back to normal. She left the swanky high life behind. Across the city, pushed it as far away as she could. A spot that was only a couple miles away became light years away in distance. It went into the black hole of her memory as if it never happened.
She picked up extra hours at a bar close to home. Right on Shiloh Street was a hole in the wall bar that became a home to Sullivan. It was comfortable, the people were nice, and Sullivan enjoyed working there. The name left something to be desired. Telling people she worked part time at Sloppy Joe’s was a lot different than saying the Ritz Carlton. Her guy friends thought it funny to ask her if she was working at ‘Sloppy Hoe’s’ this weekend. Sullivan didn’t answer them and just shook her head at their stupid humor.
Her guy friends were some of the best people in her life at the time. Although they had some bad humor, and usually at her expense, they were her best friends. They spent late nights playing Yahtzee for twenty bucks a game until all hours of the morning. Sullivan was probably invited at first because she would leave 120 dollars in the hole on bad nights. Never was able to actually achieve the elusive Yahtzee. That was true in life too. She didn’t laugh at Irony’s joke.
She worked at Sloppy Joe’s every weekend. Every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, no matter how late she stayed out the previous weekend nights. Winter turned to Spring and pretty soon summer was creeping up. It was May. That odd time of the year, when the weather wasn’t sure if it was going to be freezing or warm enough to wear a T-shirt and shorts. Sullivan looked at her calendar and there was another dreaded wedding coming up. Another wedding reminding her she was behind in life, working at two different bars. Another wedding she didn’t have the money to attend. Another wedding with a fancy dress, she didn’t have. Another wedding without a date.
It was the wedding of one of her best girl friends from childhood, Chanel. She was an over achiever. She was always able to make sure she got what she wanted and where she wanted. She wanted this groom for the rest of her life, and that he would be, starting Saturday. She had an elaborate wedding donning two wedding dresses. One beautiful traditional white dress and another representing her Vietnamese heritage. Sullivan thought the second dress was far more ravishing than the first. It was red and hand embroidered with beautiful flowers. Floor length with looped closures all the way down. No poofy underskirts, no lace and bedazzled bosom. It was authentic, with intricate detailing. The vermilion color looked beautiful against her black hair. She looked like a bride ready to start the rest of her life, and it brought Sulli to tears. She wasn’t sure if she was crying because one of her best friends from childhood was getting married or because she drank a half bottle of Jack Daniel’s before the wedding. Either way she ended up having a good time.
Everyone else was staying for the duration of the evening and waking up for breakfast the next morning. Sullivan didn’t like staying away from Mount Washington. Didn’t have the money for a hotel room, and definitely wasn’t sleeping on the floor in someone else’s room. She said her goodbyes to those who noticed she was leaving, and exited the party early.
There was a little after hours bar near Sulli’s house, and she was ready for a nightcap. She had already changed out of her tight dress and tall heels. As soon as she walked in the door of the after hours club she was greeted with open arms by another childhood friend, Meagan Yeager. She and her brother had attended a different wedding that evening and also left the party early. What are the chances? Megan and her went way back, the way she and Beth did. They were once the three musketeers, inseparable in elementary school, until they all parted ways in sixth grade. Megan’s brother Gary was Sullivan’s first kiss on a dare. That was always the greeting they gave each other.
‘Gare!! My first kiss!!’ Sulli announced.
He gave her a large hug and three of them did too many shots and reminisced about the good ole days, growing up in Mount Washington. She and Megan talked about weddings and college and life. Megan had been married young. A fireman and they lived a happy life, it played out the way you daydream about when you’re a little girl. Megan was one of those people that had it all, and had it all figured it out. She was alluring and fun, interesting and loving. She was bright light at all times, never dimming. The three of them hung out that night, being the early wedding leavers. They made memories that Sullivan would enjoy for years. Megan talked privately to Sulli at the end of the night, told her deep and difficult secrets. Megan was having trouble conceiving. Sullivan realized even those that have it all have troubles of their own. Megan explained she was having so much trouble getting pregnant, she was considering in vitro. She wanted nothing more than her own baby.
‘It will happen Meg. You’ll be the best mom ever.’
Sullivan, Gary, and Megan ended the night with pictures and hugs and laughter. It turned out to be one of the best nights Sulli had in a long time. It was the early morning hours before they parted ways and went home.
The next afternoon Sulli opened the bar and started her shift up at ‘Sloppy Hoe’s’ . The regulars started rolling in around noon and Sulli was a little hungover but nothing she hadn’t handled before. Soon the bar was full and everyone was buzzing with talks of Saturday night antics and upcoming football games. Suddenly one of the regulars called out, said words that sounded like poison to Sullivan’s ears.
‘Did you hear one of the Yeager sister’s died last night? Yeah! I think it was Megan.’
‘What?! No SIR!!!! I was just with her last night! Look!!!’ Sullivan whipped out her digital camera and showed the last picture in her camera. It was a smiling picture of her and Megan. She looked gorgeous.
‘No. She died last night.’ He repeated.
Sullivan wanted to punch him in the face. She jumped on the bar phone and called Gary. He answered, surprisingly, he was crying. Sullivan knew immediately the obnoxious bar client was right. Gary couldn’t talk but he confirmed what Sulli dreaded. Her stomach did nineteen flips, she looked at her camera, ran to the bathroom, and threw up.
A week later Sulli attended Megan’s funeral. It was now June. The end of May was the end of Megan. She had a headache, laid down, and never woke back up. It was a brain aneurysm. Sullivan was given a gift that night, given one more chance to hang out with an Angel on Earth.
When she saw Gary at the funeral, all they did was squeeze each other tight and wipe their unending tears on each others shoulders. Sullivan never wanted to smell lily’s again. Megan was too good for this Earth. She was too good to walk among us flawed humans.
Sullivan couldn’t help but attend her self pity party, for a long time, after that. It happened again. How could it have happened again? What was she going to do?
Sullivan snapped out of it. Jude jumped on her bed and interrupted her mind time machine. She was crying. She wiped her tears before he could see.
‘Mummy!! You wanna play?’
Yes. Yes she did. Megan would have. She would have been the best mother.