On the same day that Yvonne fainted at work, sometime much later in the night, she was awoken by the phone.
Frowning at her clock, she saw it was ten in the evening. She picked it up and soon her skin went cold.
There was so much noise in the background.
“Kendo?” she sat up, assailed by a surge of inexplicable fear.
Beyond the static, she could hear at least one woman screaming and other people talking loudly, urgently. Kendo was shouting over the chaos.
“My plane is going down! I don’t think we’re going to make it.”
Her heart leapt into her throat. “What? Ken-”
“I want you to listen-” the line crackled “I love you. No matter what happens, I love you! You have to be strong, Yvonne. You won’t have to worry about me…” his voice faded out and she didn’t catch the end of his statement.
“I love you too, but- you’re breaking Kendo!” she was on the verge of hysterics. “I can’t hear you!”
“Be strong!” she heard him say again. “Your life is going to be wonderful… love you. Tell my family I love them too and that I’m sorry… so sorry Yvonne.”
The noise in the background nearly drowned him out and the phone connection was so bad she could hardly make out what he was saying.
Yvonne couldn’t believe her ears when she heard him say, “I’m going to stay here on the line with you… until the end.”
“Kendo, no,” she cried. “No, no, no, you’re not- there is no end!”
“Baby, I think this is it…” his voice trembled.
The voices and noise in the background got louder as Ken went quiet, crying silently.
Yvonne sat, shaking violently in her bed, completely overwhelmed by what was going on. This can’t be happening! Her mind shouted, tears falling down her face.
“Yvonne! Yvonne- oh my God… I love-”
The line went dead.
Yvonne was beyond shock.
The discomfort she had been experiencing before she went to sleep that night was absolutely nothing compared to the trauma that phone call had just inflicted on her. Her lungs filled with air and it felt as though it was burning through her chest and all she could do was let it out again. She didn’t want to acknowledge that the call could’ve have been Kendo’s last living moments. If it had been, then she didn’t want to live any longer. It just couldn’t be.
Yvonne screamed. And continued screaming. She couldn’t stop.
It was nearly two minutes before Verna came running into the room but Yvonne was still screaming. “Miss Baker, what’s the matter? What happened?”
She saw Yvonne clutching the phone, rocking back and forth. Verna had to wrestle the receiver out of her grief-stricken employer’s hand. Her screams were raw and because she did not understand the source of her agony, Verna didn’t know what to do. Yvonne had never been hysterical before and nothing Verna tried was stopping the ravaged cries.
So she called Mrs. Baker.
Another thirty minutes saw two phone calls and Avril Baker come into Yvonne’s home.
The first phone call was from JB, who was in the Air Force. He had heard of the American plane going down and upon hearing whose it was, he had just wanted to be sure that Yvonne had not been on the Kunosawa’s aircraft. Knowing this made Verna’s skin go cold. It explained the reason behind the desperate screams Yvonne had emitted. Her heart went out to the young woman, realising how devastated Eve must be. She managed to reassure JB that Yvonne was safe at home before ringing off and returning to the side of her employer.
The second call was from the Kunosawa residence. Verna listened in horror as she was informed of what had really happened, confirming further what had caused Eve’s hysteria. The family had just received word a few minutes ago that Kendo’s jet had crashed off the coast of India on the way to Japan and Kendo had definitely been on the plane.
Yvonne could hear Verna talking, but when the woman tried to give her the phone, she turned her head and let out a frightened, hurt moan.
With a sigh Verna ended the conversation quickly and went to put her arms around Yvonne, which only made the younger woman start crying again. With every soothing word from Verna, her crying became harder and more painful. Verna hoped that Yvonne’s mother would arrive soon. She would know what to do.
Avril Baker came with a doctor in tow. By the time they arrived, however, her shrieks had subsided to heaving sobs and painful moaning. She hardly recognized that her mother took the place of Verna, holding her. The doctor gave Yvonne a shot and the last thing she heard was Verna telling Avril to call her son.
“Jermaine said he will find out if there were any survivors, but he says it’s unlikely…”
The heavy cloak of medicated slumber slipped over her and she welcomed its numbing powers. She couldn’t fade out of the world fast enough. It had given her some terrible news and she needed to get away. If Kendo really was gone, she didn’t want to come back.
When she woke up, the sun was blinding, her head ached and her mouth was dry. Her mother sat beside her bed and at first Yvonne couldn’t understand why.
Avril laid a gentle hand on her daughter’s forehead with a slight smile.
“Hello, my lovely.”
Trying to adjust to the amount of sunlight in the room she closed her eyes again. For a moment, she couldn’t understand what her mother was even doing there. But it didn’t take long for the events of the previous night to come flooding back in heart shattering detail.
“Mom? What-?” she choked on her words. Her throat was sorely raw.
Her mother looked away. She couldn’t stand seeing her child in this much pain.
“Mom!” she insisted hopefully. “Did Kendo..? Did he-?”
Avril looked back at her so sadly, shaking her head. “There were no survivors, baby. Kendo, the Konishikis… no one made it.”
Tears fell from her mother’s eyes, dropping onto Yvonne’s hand. “I’m so sorry,” she heard her mother whisper.
Yvonne pulled her hand away from the liquid quickly, as if it burnt her. Then she started crying again, this time quiet, broken sobs.
She spent the whole day in bed, switching from restless sleep to tears every few hours. She didn’t want to see anyone, she didn’t want to eat and she surely didn’t want to hear about the details of the accident or the funeral. Having begged her mother to make it all go away, Eve was barely willing to remain conscious of anything beyond her bed. Reality was simply too cruel for Yvonne to face.
Avril was there the whole time and for the days after the tragic accident, she wondered what would be sufficient to heal the wounds of this lost love her daughter was experiencing. Her daughter and Kendo had had a rare bond and now it was gone forever.
Yvonne’s mother prayed that there might be someone, one day, who could save her daughter from the profound loneliness Kendo’s death was sure to envelope her in. But for the time being, the stark truth was Yvonne was hurting badly and nothing her loved ones tried was making her feel any better.
One cold morning Yvonne woke up with a start. Her skin felt feverishly hot and she couldn’t escape her bed covers fast enough.
Heading toward the window, Yvonne was aware that she wasn’t completely awake. But she needed to get to the window.
She opened the large bay window all the way and swung her legs over the edge, planting her feet firmly on the roof tiles the way she used to when she was trying to have a private phone call as a young girl living in her parent’s house.
She closed her eyes and inched forward until she was completely outside, seated on the roof. Placing her hands on her uncovered knees, they felt clammy and she knew being outside was a good idea. She had to cool down.
It was still early in the morning and the sun wasn’t fully yet out. The entire property seemed so still, as though nothing had yet moved or awakened. Everything was dead to the world.
It was after that thought crossed her mind that she was sure she felt him.
The air stirred and a cold wind blew over her bare legs and arms.
Yvonne didn’t shiver.
She just tilted head back and savoured the cool air on her feverish skin.
The breeze felt like a gentle caress, much like many Kendo had showered her with in his lifetime. Yvonne didn’t want to open her eyes and be alone. In her half sleeping state she had managed to find him for a moment and she didn’t want to lose it.
It only lasted a little while. One moment she was enveloped in such restful calm and then suddenly the breeze was gone and the morning was completely still again.
“Kendo…” she whispered.
She didn’t get an answer. There was no voice to fill the silence. No warm touch to rouse her senses. There would never be again.
He really was gone.
A solitary tear slipped between her eyelids and trailed all the way down her cheek.
She wiped it away with a trembling hand.
“How could you do this to me?” she screamed out loud. Looking up at the sky, she shouted desperately, “You know how much I need you!”
Again, there was no answer.
She waited but she knew it wouldn’t come.
With a broken sigh, she rested her forehead on her arms and closed her eyes again.
Terrence walked into his friend’s office to find Michael standing at the window.
Michael jumped and dropped the keys that were in his hand.
Terrence frowned. “You okay, man?”
Michael took his time picking up the fallen keys. When he straightened up, he looked over at Terrence with a haunted look on his face.
“What’s going on, Mike?”
The man took a deep breath. As Terrence watched him, he tried to ignore the growing cold pooling in his stomach. The first words out of Michael’s mouth turned it to stone.
“For a split moment I thought she was going to kill herself.”
“Who-“ he stopped himself. He knew who. “What do you mean?”
“I found Yvonne on the roof of her parent’s house today.”
“She was sleeping when I got to her but she was so cold I thought…” he swallowed hard. “She jumped a mile when I grabbed her arm to pull her inside. She slipped a bit but I managed to bring her back.”
He was incapable of speech, but even if his mouth would have moved, Terrence didn’t know what to say.
Michael continued, “Do you know what she said?” Pause. “She looked at me so calmly and said she was ok. Yvonne hugged me and said she’d felt Kendo out there but he wasn’t coming back.”
The hairs on the back of Terrence’s neck started to rise. “Whoa…”
“I thought she was dead, Terry! And when she slipped a little, I knew I was ready to dive right over the edge to save her.”
Terrence commanded his legs to move toward his friend. When he was right in front of him, he reached out and pulled him into a hug.
“She’s still here. And so are you, dude. Yvonne probably needs you more than you both realise, but I think you need to be there so that she has a reason to live, man. You’ve been there from the beginning- no one knows her better, so maybe no one can help her more.”
Releasing his friend, he gave a slight smile. “It’s going to take time, but she’ll recover.”
“I hope so.” Michael said earnestly. “I was so freaked out when I saw her from my car. I thought- what if I don’t get there in time?”
“Don’t think about it,” Terrence said, a little more sharply than he’d intended. He lowered his voice. “You have to be a positive influence. Don’t think the worst. Ever.”
Michael nodded. “You’re right. Thanks.”
“Anytime.” Terrence headed out the door.
As he walked to his office, he tried to take stock of the reaction he’d had when Michael had started his story. The fear for Yvonne’s life was so real it was almost tangible. When he swallowed, it choked him for just a second.
Just the fact that he felt anything at all alarmed him slightly. He didn’t know her very well. He had only seen her in the company of his friend Michael, so what had affected him so much?
Taking a seat at his desk, Terrence thought about it.
Maybe because he could sense Michael’s worry and fear, it had affected him. Back in college the two of them had been really close. Now that he was staying at Mike’s place, they were closer than ever. That must have been what caused the heightened emotion.
He couldn’t find any other explanation, so he went with it.
A few times during the day, he checked in with Michael to make sure he was doing ok and to ask if he’d spoken to Yvonne. Each time everything was pretty much the same. She was at home, not taking direct calls and he seemed to be struggling with how to help her when part of her didn’t even want to live.
Terrence hoped Yvonne would be ok and that Michael would find a way to help her get back on her feet. The funeral was coming up and eventually she would have to come back to work and everything she used to do before the tragic accident.
He genuinely hoped she’d be ready.