“Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be.” She’d sing to me every night before bed. Followed by, “Have you brushed your teeth?”, “Don’t forget to say your prayers!”, “He’s listening”. Lately I’ve questioned the words of Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. They’re lyrics to live by, but how true are they? Whatever was meant to be will eventually be. The words leave you with a sense of helplessness, a lack of control. Apparently, my life and the lives of others are in God’s hands, but how much of it is already mapped out for us? Can we change it if we tried? She knew something others didn’t. Her faith was too great to question. She sang to me. What she didn’t realize was that she had been preparing me for a life changing event that would occur about twenty years later.
I remember being terrified. Before she’d leave the house, I’d always have an overwhelming feeling of abandonment. She’d never be gone for too long, but there was a distressing fear that she’d never come back home again. I’m not quite sure what the origin of this terror was, possibly an unexplainable intuition of sorts. My sister would fall asleep with ease in our unnaturally dark bedroom. The flickering glow of the television held my eyelids wide, increasing the gnawing anxiety lurking throughout my chest. How many times could I count the tiles on the ceiling? Sleep was difficult when I knew she wasn’t here with me. “Que Sera, Sera” played over in my head until the turn of the handle, squeak of the hinge and final reassuring click of the door.
So much time has passed since then. It passes so quickly it becomes difficult to keep up. Days turn into weeks, weeks to months, months to years. We never stop to take a look around and see what we have, how fortunate we are, we were. It’s only when the very earth you stand on is ripped out from under you that you begin to open your eyes. Everything has changed. My fear became too real to defeat with a pretty song. Where did this come from? What exactly is it? How did it happen? Is there a cure? How much time then? What can I do? Why? “Whatever will be, will be.” That’s not fair. What exactly is fair? I am selfish to believe that this is affecting me more than others, more than her. I’m angry with her for instilling such words and thoughts into my head, “The future’s not ours to see,” but I saw.
Red and white lights flickered throughout the unusually still house. It would just be a few days. They simply needed to run a few more tests. No emergency here. Why the commotion then? Who’s lying to me? Who’s trying to protect me? I’m not a child anymore. Time is a funny thing. We believe we have it perfectly measured, but I know it has no definite speed. It’s never on our side. It is an evil entity that controls us. Our lives our mapped out by time. The amount of time we have left. What about the people who are cheated out of time? The slow steady speed of time that week was excruciating. On the sixth night, the incessant gnawing came back.
What is it like to forget? To wake up one morning and fail to remember the world. To no longer recognize the people you love, the places you’ve been, the times you’d loved, the times you’d hated, the things that make you smile? To completely forget who you are? It must be incredible. “Who are you?” “It’s me, Lisa…” “Who?” What’s it like to suddenly wake up and become a stranger? I’ll tell you. It’s like the sun going down and never rising again. It’s like living in a dark, cold, empty place, barely breathing; time once again abandoning you. The darkness of my childhood bedroom was nothing compared to this room. It’s the constant waiting that will break you down. Once you’re stripped of all hope, that’s when it becomes the darkest. Because I already knew what “will be”, the song never gave me faith, it only amplified the horror.
It was a Sunday night, a night without words. A vast silence swept down the halls of the eighth floor. It bounced off the icy tiled walls and ripped right through my skin. I’d sit in that bitter silence all night. What else could I do? Where else could I be? I sang, “Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be; the future’s not ours to see. Que sera, sera, what will be will be,” Mom.