When she discovered that the white noise
not only did not
stop her from hearing the voices
but made her listen more closely,
In case they were talking about her,
saying things that were not true,
or at best half true,
with the aim of undermining her,
and sending her further into a tailspin,
She felt the wiser course of action
would be to accept her loss,
quietly, without protest, keeping
all her wits about her,
the way tulips will close up at night,
To retain whatever light and heat
they’ve captured during the day,
so that her enemies, who seemed
to be multiplying by the hour,
could do her no further harm.
She felt something funny in one ear,
a buzzing, a grinding the likes of which
she had never experienced before.
Was it a stroke? The flu? Chronic
fatigue? Or something else?
She stood up and announced to the others,
whom she had always thought of as friends,
but now believed otherwise, that she did not
feel well and wanted to go home.
Everyone stopped talking and looked at her.
She swayed back and forth, and we were
afraid she would fall. She took a step
toward the hallway, where she had hung
her coat, turned and looked at me.
I hurried to her side. I thought
We should go to the hospital,
but she said no, and she seemed
so sure of herself, so set,
I gave in and went along.