Karen knew she’d passed out again. After all, she’d done it so much of late that it was almost as familiar a transition as waking up. But there was something she didn’t know…couldn’t hold on to…didn’t remember. It had to do with something she was griping tightly in her hand and something important she had to do.
Then her first dreamy memory of Frank led her away from anything hateful. She knew her eyes were really closed, but she was seeing the Pacific Ocean ablaze with the sunset. San Francisco glittered pink and orange, as if on fire. Frank wrapped his jacket around her shoulders against the fog they both knew was about to descend on the Marin hills, then whispered in her ear.
Karen jerked away to stare back at him. “What?!?!?”
He was magnificent…standing atop the hills above his apartment in Sausalito in all his virile glory…his hair whipped around smartly by the breeze. And this wasn’t how this memory went. He was supposed to whisper sweet words of love in her ear.
“I’m the one who died. Not Martin…who…oddly…right now…is the only one of us who’s really in the hills above Sausalito.”
Karen felt her heart stop beating as she watched the fog descend between them…making him appear to be the ghost he claimed to be. At first she felt no pain at all, not even mild discomfort. She was going to die too; she was going to join him.
Two voices had shouted that word. Frank’s and…
This time it was only one voice, the most beautiful voice she’d ever heard. Karen gulped in air as if she hadn’t been breathing and felt a hard thud in her chest as her eyes opened.
“Yes!!! You’re far too beautiful to die young. I heard you stand behind me when I gave that key to the pregnant teenager. You must have passed out and knocked my scalpel off the table. Thanks for retrieving it, but let’s get you back on the chair and let me check you out.”
The elderly homeless woman in the bathrobe with all the medical supplies. Behind her, a middle-aged woman was just coming in the door of the Storage Space. Another witness, Karen thought excitedly…though she didn’t quite understand where that thought came from. But then she remembered what the scalpel was for.