When I was a little girl, I used to wake up to the aroma of bittersweet coffee accompanied by the comforting sound of chitchat and hearty laughter. I’d stare at the bright light sneaking into my bedroom from the bottom of the closed door as I counted the voices in the dark: one, two, three, four, five voices quietly filled the air around me. With that, I would smile and crawl out from underneath the sheets and hop onto the floor eager to greet them.
Ready to be blinded by the light, I’d shield my eyes as I would reach for the door knob. As soon as I was spotted by the members of my family, my grandma would announce with a song to whomever or whatever was listening that the princess has awoken. No matter how annoyed I may have seemed, I looked forward to the melody that started every day of my childhood.
Flash-forward 9 years later and the smell of coffee still welcomes me every morning, but this time it’s only bitter. I stare at the bottom of the bedroom door and there is no bright light. I close my eyes while burying myself deeper into the comforter and I begin to count the voices in the air, but there aren’t any—merely the void of silence. I roll out of bed and walk towards the door pausing at the knob. Then, finding my inner strength, I open it, only to be greeted by the absence of my grandma’s song. A surge of loneliness engulfs me while I stare blankly into the empty living room where my family once sat chatting and laughing.