A Sunday story.
”Dead? What do you mean dead?’
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Morgan.”
“You’re sorry? What do you mean you’re sorry? Where the hell is my husband? I want to talk to a doctor right now. What the fuck is going on here?”
“I’ll get someone for you. Give me a moment.”
“Give you a moment?” Teresa demands, coming to her feet and moving toward the nurse.
The nurse moves away. She leaves the room. She leaves Teresa standing there, in only the dim lights from the street and one faint bulb above what was her husband’s bed.
The room is suddenly so quiet and nothing moves. Everything seems to have stopped.
Every single thing.
And then there is the bed.
It seems to call to her. It seems to ask her to notice the freshly made sheets and blankets and pillows, the absence of her husband, as if he was never really there. Was he? Was he ever really there? How could they already have moved him, so quickly made his space look as if he never existed.
She’d been gone only two hours. Just two hours over the last five days. Just two.
“Mrs. Morgan?” says a voice.
“Where is my husband?” Teresa demands.
“Mrs. Morgan I am so sorry. Your husband went into cardiac arrest only a few minutes after you left. We tried to reach you. We were not able to save him.”
Teresa just stands there and stares at him. She does not move.
So much time seems to go by, but really it cannot be so much. It can only be seconds, maybe just three of them. It could only be about three seconds but it seems like longer. It seems like days and days, like all of her days.
“Mrs. Morgan?” the doctor says.
Suddenly then she must see her phone, must confirm that they tried to reach her, that he’s not lying. She turns and digs through her purse and she finds her phone at the bottom and the screen is black and she tries to get it to come on but it stays black.
“Mrs. Morgan?” the doctor repeats. “You can stay here as long as you like. A social worker is on her way. She should be here to see you any moment. She will help.”
“Where is he?”
She does not give this man time to answer though, this young boy who was likely not even born when Teresa married Nate Morgan, when she walked down the aisle to him thirty years ago, carrying his child and wondering if they would last.
“Where?” Teresa demands loudly. “Take me there. You were so fucking quick to pack him up and change his bedding and get ready for another customer that you didn’t even think how horrible it would be for me to come back to this empty room with it’s freshly made bed. Did you even imagine for a minute how that would feel to me?”
“I’m going to get someone for you Mrs. Morgan. I’ll be right back.”
He leaves then and the room is again without sound or motion, as if more than just her husband has been taken out of this room, as if everything has been taken.
And then there is the bed.
It seems once more to call to her and she goes to it, places her purse on the floor and removes her shoes and picks up the pillows, pulls back the blanket and sheet.
Then she climbs in.
She curls up on her side and she pulls a pillow under her head and moves the blanket up to her chin and she sleeps.
She sleeps in the bed that was her husband’s.