"Anniversary" by Allie Costa

It's been ten years since it happened. Or it will be, in a few hours. But technically, it is the right date for the wrong thing. And fittingly, it's raining outside.

On the first anniversary of her death, I didn't understand the word anniversary. I asked my mother, "Why would you want to celebrate something sad?" That just made her cry even harder. I deemed it the "sadversary" and thought myself brilliant for coming up with such a cool word. I was five, and my world was filled with cartoons, storybooks, and happy endings.

Now I'm staring at the ceiling, listening to the rain and a rerun of my favorite show. Usually, the hum of the TV is my lullaby, helping me fall asleep, but not tonight. Tonight, I'm waiting for the phone to ring, as it did ten years ago.

I was half-dressed when the phone rang then. My shirt was pink. I was excited because we were bringing her home that day. She was getting better and she would be home again, finally.

I put my hand on the phone.

I pressed the big button with my crooked finger.

I said, "Hello?"

I listened to what the doctor said.

Then, like the rain, I fell.

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