We started going to BI after my father took us there one summer and bought a timeshare. As a teenager, it was a boring town filled with adults. As an adult, it’s an oasis, an escape from city life and the hustle and bustle.
My brother went most of the time. By the time I was in college, I felt hanging out with my boyfriend and working at CVS was more important.
The summer after my grandpa passed away, grandma said she’d go with us. It would be a nice getaway like the ones we took in the 70’s to the Jersey shore. That night, after our midnight snack, a cigarette for grandma and a hot non-caffeinated tea for me, I went back to packing and burning a mixed tape for the drive.
I was in the middle of listening to a SoulIISoul song when I heard the beeping of my intercom. After grandpa died, we installed an intercom between my grandma’s bedroom and mine, just in case.
I ran into her room half expecting to see her asleep when I found her on the floor reaching for me. The signs were there. Her left side was slumped over and she couldn’t get herself off her side. She kept rubbing her forehead. My grandma had a stroke.
I immediately called 911 and screamed for my brother. He came down and with his 200+ frame, picked up my 80 lb grandma gingerly and placed her on her bed. Andrew, one of my brother’s best friends who I call my other brother, stood outside in the dark of early morning to flag the ambulance.
We never went to BI that year. Grandma languished in a nursing home for over 5 years after that.
Every year we go to BI after that eventful summer, I have added anxiety. I don’t stay up the night before anymore at least not intentionally. All my packing is done the afternoon of our trip and I get into bed early in the hopes that I can get some shut eye.
Last night wasn’t any different than previous night before BIs. I went to bed at 11pm and tossed and turned until 3am. Add the anxiety of not having the dogs around and I really couldn’t sleep.
It’s funny how our minds and our hearts can retain so much from an event that it carries that same feeling over and over, no matter how much time has passed.