Kelog chewed his lip as he watched an oversized gnat circle the room. Why didn’t someone smash the blinking thing into oblivion? He would. Certainly. If it got close enough. But it never did. Fury seethed through his whole system. Gnats shouldn’t be flying about on a frozen December day. They had no right to exist. Not here. Not now.
A gale wind struck the windowpane. Dang! Driving home will be hell. Not as bad as the drive here though. That’s not possible. He wiped the sweat from his hands, rubbing them along his jeans. He glared at the fake poinsettia, the cheery signs on the wall with comforting platitudes, the assembly of grey humanity sitting hunched over their phones on lounge chairs that no one ever lounged on. Kelog loathed waiting rooms.
He peered at the doorway. He wanted to be in there. With his wife. But given the fact that he had carried her into the emergency room screaming for help, medics had promptly laid her on a stretcher, and then—in no uncertain terms—ushered him out, he figured he shouldn’t distract them from their primary concern. Laurie. And the baby.
How could such a wonderful day have gone so wrong?
They had snuggled in bed, comforting each other. Calm. Loving. The grey skies only highlighted the red and green decorations hanging in ornamental beauty along the porch railing. Quickly dressed. A strong cup of coffee. A kiss goodbye that hinted of pleasures intended for after work hours.
The day had flown by. “Any day now…” everyone had chanted with twinkles in their hope-filled eyes. And they weren’t talking about Santa and a new train set.
He had come home early. A surprise. He knew how tired Laurie had been, and he wanted to help clean the house before the big family gathering. She had probably done most of it, he knew. But in her condition, she never got as much done as she intended. And he was going to be her knight in shining armor and come to the rescue. He even brought home a new mop!
But after a twenty-minute drive against a roaring wind, parking in the snug garage, whistling his way into the kitchen armed with his playful sword-mop, he glanced around.
Somewhere in the universe, a sorceress plucked a low, vibrating chord. An oddity jumped at him from the corner of his eye. His morning coffee cup sat unwashed in the sink. Perplexity somersaulted right into anxiety.
“Laurie?” He laid the mop with a bow wrapped around it on the kitchen table where she couldn’t miss it. “Hey, honey! Guess what?”
Silence swept over his arms and chilled his bones.
He could hear his own footsteps as he pounded upstairs two at a time to their bedroom. Horrible images filled his mind. And then his heart.
She lay in bed, still as stone. Cold to his touch.
Calling for an ambulance never crossed his mind. The hospital was down the street, and his car was warm and close. Without conscious thought, he bundled her into his arms, her snoopy pajamas flaring and her arms flopping to the sides, and he trotted downstairs with the two most precious people in the universe.
Kelog peered up. The gnat swirled in the air before him. He stood.
“The doctor will be here in a moment. Have you called anyone?”
Kelog blinked. His mouth dropped open. He knew he looked stupid. He felt stupid. Not idiotic just unable to think. Unable to process her words. “Call? Who?”
The nurse pressed his arm, gesturing back to the chair. As if sitting might help him think. “Your family? Her family? Parents?”
Yes. Of course. He should call someone. But who? And say what? He glanced at the nurse. Her uniform tag said “Beatrice.”
Nothing mattered. Except for his wife. And the baby. “How are they?”
Beatrice had perfected the non-committal smile. “I really can’t say too much. The doctor will be here in a moment. I just came to check on you and see if you want me to call anyone. If you need anything?”
An award-winning android could not have moved more precisely. Kelog pulled his phone from his shirt pocket, hit the contacts list, pointed to Nestly Smith, and cleared his throat. “My sister. She’ll know what to do.”
With a compliant nod, Beatrice rose, tapped the phone, and put it to her ear. She strolled a few feet away, stopping in front of a crucifix hanging on the wall.
Kelog blinked. I should be praying. I should’ve called mom. I should have…done something.
But nothing mattered. Time had stopped when that dark chord had struck. Life had ceased to exist as he knew it. Was he even breathing?
Beatrice held out the phone. “She wants to talk to you.”
Kelog pressed the phone to his ear.
“I’m coming. Tom’s getting the car, and we’ll be there in about twenty minutes. Hang on, sweetheart. She’ll be okay. Everything will be all right.”
Tears flooded Kelog’s eyes. A million gnats swarmed around him. “But I didn’t call an ambulance. I forgot to pray. Never thought to call mom…”
“I’ll call mom. We’ll all be there. Soon. Hang on! Don’t give up.”
“She was cold. Really cold, Nes.”
“I’m praying, Kelly. Tom’s praying. Everyone who knows us will be praying.”
“I even brought home a mop.”
Kelog felt the shadow stop before him. The phone slipped from his fingers. He stood and faced the doctor.
“Mr. Smith, your wife had slipped into a coma—but she’s recovering now.”
Kelog heard himself whisper. “The baby?”
“She’s fine. Probably didn’t notice a thing. Just thought her mama was resting all day. Which, in a way, she was. Diabetic shock. It could’ve been worse. But she came out of it, and they’ll both be fine. We’ll just have to keep a close eye on them.”
The rest of the doctor’s words blurred as Beatrice, with a surprisingly firm grip, directed him to his wife’s bedside.
Laurie’s pale face broke into a sheepish grin when their eyes met. “I didn’t follow the doc’s directions last night…you know…I had other things on my mind.”
“Oh, God. I thought I’d lost you.”
Beatrice and the doctor meandered to the far side of the room.
Laurie’s grin widened. “You can’t lose me, love. Your prayers probably saved me.”
The gnat darted in front of Kelog’s eyes. He slammed his hands together, making everyone jump. When he spread his hands wide, a black smear decorated his palms. “Damn bug.” He glanced at his wife. “It distracted me; I forgot—”
A lightning bolt of sisterly anxiety sped into the room and catapulted into her brother’s arms. “I got here as soon—” She glanced over to the bed and shrieked. “You’re okay!” Veering from brother to sister-in-law, Nestly flung herself into Laurie’s arms.
Tom sauntered up and pressed Kelog ‘s shoulder. No words needed.
An hour later, after a fast-food run, Kelog stepped through the waiting room with two paper bags loaded with a selection that would‘ve sent his high school health teacher into a panic attack.
Beatrice stood before the crucifix. Staring.
His mood leaping amid moonbeams, Kelog hardly missed a beat as he changed his trajectory and stopped beside the middle-aged woman. “Thank you. For today. For thinking of me and calling my sister.”
Beatrice looked over. She wiped away an errant tear. “I was glad to help.”
Kelog pointed to the cross and shrugged, unable to comprehend his lapse. “I forgot to pray.”
Beatrice shook her head. “No. You didn’t. Your love is your prayer. I only wish everyone prayed as much.”
A. K. Frailey is the author of 15 books, a teacher for 35 years, and a homeschooling mother of 8.
Make the most of life’s journey.
For books by A. K. Frailey check out her Amazon Author Page
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