On the way back to my apartment, I see my parents have called twice. No message. I call back anyway. “Can you check on B?” Dad asks “She’s having one of her complicated migraines.”
Complicated migraines, meaning the vasodialation of the vessels in her brain have depleted blood to certain regions of it, usually the linguistic regions, like a mild stroke. She will be virtually incapable of speech. “Yeah,” I say “I’ll go over there right now.” In the rain, I turn north.
D has beat me. “Hi,” I say to B, who is sitting in the darkness half-laughing half-whimpering. “How’s it going? Do you need anything?” I sit at her feet– accidentally on them, although she doesn’t notice.
“You,” she says, pointing to me “What?”
I repeat the question, ask about her pathology, ask how school was.
“Peachy,” she says, putting her head on her knees “Like a peach. Peach pie… good… oh, golly. Is golly a word?”
“Yes,” we say.
She pauses, then, carefully: “School. Was. Good.” And then, to clarify: “Dead. Uhh-uh.”
“Some people pay lots of money to drug themselves up for this sort of experience,” says D.
B turns. “No, not. I didn’t. Hi,” she says to him “I forgot who you were.”
I’m trying to figure out if she’s playing the situation up, but I doubt it. She’s taken Imatrex and many shots of coffee. She says her brain hurts excruciatingly, especially the left side, but she can’t stop giggling-whimpering. She goes off occasionally into a string of nonsensical mumbles. Mostly she moans, wishes to be well, says she has too much to do to. We tell her it’s getting better, and that she will be fine by morning.
“It tastes like hot dogs,” she insists “and all I ate was a ginger cookie.”
“You could have some macaroni,” says D, who is kind but slightly diabolical “twisted or elbow.”
“Elbow?” echoes B, shocked “What’s elbow? I’m not a mandarin!”
We both snicker. We can’t help it.
“A mmmmm… a mm..?” asks B.
“Cannibal,” I say. I know what she means. The first time this happened, we were in High school, with friends, and she was too scared to even try to talk, so I translated for her. She used mostly American sign language, which worked better than English, for some reason. I’ve forgotten most of my ASL but can usually figure out what she means by the wrinkling of her nose.
“I have a crush on a boy,” B is saying. She turns to D again. “I think it’s you.”
“B,” I say “You should try to sleep.”
“It’s past your bedtime,” B tells me, petulantly “Go read a book.”
“Ok,” I say, putting on my coat. There isn’t much I can do; she wants neither food, drink, noise nor light. I pat her head. She has very smooth hair, just like when we were infants, only she brushes it now.
“Thanks for the top ramen,” B says. She ponders, again. “I mean, I mean… thanks for stopping by.”
I call Dad as I walk home, tell him she’s fine. Dad worries, but is logical: yes, he says, she should be fine. She got bad migraine genes from both Mom and me. So did we all, I say, but B gets them the worst. I want to know why, but I don’t ask, because there’s no way of knowing.