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February 5th, 2017

I helped get Emma's suitcase into the trunk of her Uber. She waved her dead phone at me.

"Sorry I forgot to plug in your phone," I sheepishly said. "But, have a good flight and see you soon." We kissed, waved at each other, and she was gone. This was now officially the start of my two free weekends! I can finally do all those wood-working projects that I've been planning.

Yeah right! I run back to my living room and flip my PlayStation on. It's time for some Grand Theft Auto!

While it's loading, I go to the refrigerator and grab a jug of orange juice. I plop down on the sofa, take a swig of OJ directly from the bottle, and get ready to spend some time in Los Santos.

Some amount of time passed in the real world, when I heard my phone vibrate. My mother-in-law was calling, "Hey. What's up? Is Emma already there?" I could only hear crying on her end. I put the controller down. "Is something wrong?"

She fought through some tears. "Oh, haven't you heard? Emma's gone. The plane she was on crashed."


"It's all over the news. Everybody on board died."

"I don't know what to say. I'm shocked. I'm sorry for your loss."

I don't remember the rest of the conversation. At some point, my thinking comes back into focus and I'm sitting on the sofa just looking at the wall.

Then I thought about how I wouldn't get to see Emma again, and I cried. I felt deeply sad thinking that I could no longer talk to her. Just missing her future companionship.

I didn't know what to do. What can really be done anyway. I decided I had to make some sort of memorial. I took some cardboard and painted "R.I.P. Emma" in large lettering. I hung this on the living room wall. I decided it needed a candle, so lit a large one under it.

Then I remembered that we had just took out a 2 million dollar life insurance policy on each of us a few months ago. This causes a weird mixture of happiness and sadness and guilt.

It's just all too much. I call up my friend Erwin, "Want to come over and play some GTA?" He doesn't need to know what's going on. I just need to not think about all of this for a while.

We play and several hours go by.

Finally, Edwin looks over at me, "Hey, I'm getting hungry. Have any food?"

"I'll get us some pizzas."

"Sounds good. Get enough for Joey and Sam too. I'll get them to come over too."

An hour later, the four of us were racing each other in Mariokart.

We were all yelling and having such a great time, that I never heard the front door open. I looked over and Emma stood there staring at everything.

She gestured towards the candlelit sign and then at my friends, "What is this? Is this what you do when you think I die? Put up a sign and throw a party to celebrate?"

I stared at her, thinking about how this must look. "Wait? How are you here? I thought you crashed."

"I missed the flight."