>”And we will be right back after this commercial break,” the news announcer exclaimed. Becca took her eyes off the television and moved to the back of the cafe to clear off another table as Jimmy turned the volume down and counted the till. Clanking was heard from the back where Zachary, the young dishwasher, was stacking the clean dishes.
Diminished with time, the “Garrett loves Becca” that had been engraved in the table so long ago, still managed to catch her eye despite its fading. Emitting a long sigh, she finished polishing the antique wood of the table and booth while her mind carried her away, remembering…
Falls Run Hospital was far enough away that it was no easy feat driving there in a blizzard, but babies had no patience when they decided it was time to arrive. Garrett stayed as close behind the ambulance as he could, but he was thankful that Becca was not in the car with him. Heavy in labor when the paramedics arrived, he was grateful that she was in good hands because the going was so slow. Inclement weather aside, the drive to the hospital was long enough under normal conditions and his concern over their arriving in time grew.
Jimmy had been called at the cafe, where he had an apartment on the top floor, and would be ready with a thermos of hot coffee. Keystone Cafe was located in the heart of the small town. Lined up on the same corner as the hospital, it was within easy walking distance of the hospital’s front lobby. Men and women, mostly doctors and nurses, flowed continuously out of the hospital on a regular basis making up the main percentage of the cafe’s business, but today, the storm kept them all inside, settling for the hospital’s bland cafeteria food and flat coffee instead. Nobody was foolish enough to brave the blizzard, not even to take the few steps to the cafe’s front door, so Garrett was looking forward to hot coffee and good company, once Becca was settled.
Obstacles of an unknown nature filled his path, and he lost sight of the ambulance while trying to maneuver his way around them. Praying that she would arrive safely, his focus turned too late to the road ahead of him, and his car took a slide across the bridge and plunged him into the icy waters below.
Quieting the sirens as the ambulance approached the bay, the paramedics worked quickly to move Becca into the delivery ward. Records were broken as they ran her through the building, stopping only when she sat up and seized her heart, knowing in that instant her beloved was gone.
She sighed again as she read the names on the table, engraved there seventeen years before, tracing them again with the tip of her finger. Tears filled her eyes and splashed on the worn checkered linoleum tiles beneath her feet, and she fumbles with the child proof top of the little pill bottle she keeps around for times like this. Understanding still evaded her, and her heart still ached the same as it had the night he disappeared.
Visions of him flickered through her mind; silly dances here in the corner, and just over there, at the counter where he proposed. Weakening, she sat at the counter and let the memories wash through her, allowing herself to cry. Xanax set in, and she returned to her duties, with her eyes red and swollen as one last memory comes.
“You have to name this boy to take him home,” the nurse says, her caring eyes searching Becca’s face carefully.
“Zachary, just as Garrett would have wanted,” Becca answers as she gazes down at her newborn son, born the day his father died.
Constructive criticism is welcomed and appreciated.
–Stephanie, AKA The Drama Mama