Izzy Parsons fell to her knees and sobbed. She sobbed and sobbed and didn’t stop when she ran out of breath. And even with her eyes closed and fogged with tears and stray hair and her hands as they grabbed at her forehead, she could see perfectly the form of the room and the walls behind her. A scream died in her with a gurgle, and even without giving it voice it echoed through the hotel. She clawed at the floorboards and hit and kicked at anything she could reach, and there was nothing to distract her from where she was except a chittering noise in the room next door.
The CD spun in the stereo for a long time with a little whir, before it skipped and repeated itself. She listened to her grandfather greet her, and save her life, and say goodbye to her, and then she did it again.
She had no way of knowing it, but that night a few people here and there, in places she had never been, in Anchorage and Iran and all over the world, had dreams about a sad girl, feral and desperate with loneliness, and they mostly forgot her when they woke up.
She fell asleep on the floor listening to her heartbeat, occasionally hiccuping with a little sob. Through her eyelids was the room and the hotel. And she finally, finally knew that her mother was dead.