I killed her. I killed her. I killed her. It’s one of those school bell thoughts that rings in my mind every so often when I’m sitting idly. She was my assignment, and I failed in more ways than one. I picture her pale and limp, stretched out in the middle of the floor. She could have died right after I left.
I realize that she may not even be at home, and if she is, who’s to say she won’t be too sick to recognize me? I have to see her before she passes away. I killed her in a way that no one should have to die.
The walk from Nat’s back to Tracy’s apartment was short, but I don’t remember much of it. A breeze blew, and my legs and arms carried me with it—a cursed dandelion.
I’m surprised to see that there are no cops or paramedics outside of Tracy’s building. I take the back stairwell to her floor in order to keep a low profile. I feel the same magnetism that I’ve always felt with her—like she calls me with familiar smells and sounds. The pull is stronger today than it has ever been.
For the most part, the commotion on the fifth floor has died out. A few people are leaving out of their doors with work uniforms on; the rest have either already left or gone back inside. A man and two women all walk past me without giving me a second glance.
Now that the path to Tracy’s is clear and still, I walk down the empty hallway, each step faster than the last. When I get to Tracy’s doorway, it relieves me to see that the wooden chest has only been moved out of the way slightly—but behind that wooden chest, she is likely laying on the floor, suffering. All is quiet in her apartment, so I can barely see a visual of what’s going on. My stomach drops. Am I too late? What if she thinks I didn’t fulfill my promise to her? What if she’s at some hospital and she tells them what happened? A whirlwind of ‘what-ifs’ makes me dizzy and threatens to make me stumble against a wall. I knock on the wooden chest softly to give a warning before I pick it up and move it out of the way.
Tracy is sitting on the couch, looking through the contents of Joseph’s grey box. I can see that she’s looking at her name on the long list and wondering what it means. She smiles when she looks up at me. “You just love putting holes in my shirt,” she says as she pokes her finger through a small tear.