A Short Story: Endless Love

When the call came, Karen was asleep with the cat snuggled up by her side. As she grabbed for the phone, her heart began to pound.

She hesitated for just a second and then picked up the receiver and said quickly, “Hello?” Her voice sounded stronger than she felt.

“Is this Mrs. Abernathy? “A very tired voice on the other end asked.

“Yes, it is,” she replied hesitantly.

“We need you to come down to the hospital as soon as possible. It’s time,” said the voice.

“Are you sure? “she asked. She’d been at the hospital earlier and the staff had suggested she go home to get some sleep, but it was a restless sleep. Her bed still felt cold and empty without Edward’s warm body lying next to her.

“Yes, ma’am. You should come now.”

“Okay, I’ll be there as soon as possible.” She hung up the phone and got out of bed. It was cold in the house, but there wasn’t time for her warm robe, slippers or even coffee.

Lucy, the old dog, raised her head and whined softly. Karen spoke gently to her, “Go back to bed, old girl. You can’t help with this.” Lucy had always been Edward’s dog and Karen knew she really missed him.

As Lucy lowered her head again, Karen saw her nuzzle the old shirt of Edward’s that she’d put in the dog’s bed to comfort her. Karen sighed, looking at the dog.

There wasn’t time to think of the dog right now; she needed to get going. Karen dressed very quickly and splashed some water on her face, hoping it would wake her up for the drive. Grabbing her keys from the old brass hook on the wall, she went out to the garage.

The first thing she saw was Edward’s little red Miata. Buying that car had been his last wild fling at youth.They had both enjoyed it and had taken many long drives along the coastal road in the car with the top down. Karen had loved letting the salty wind fly through her hair as the sunlight warmed her face.

It was a good memory, but she knew she needed to sell the car, she just didn’t have the heart to let it go yet.

Karen got in her car and sat quietly for a second. Feeling warm tears on her cheeks, she whispered to herself, “I can’t believe it’s time.” Her words created a frosty fog in the cold car. She turned the key, started the engine and began the long drive to the hospital.

Even though there were few cars on the road, the icy conditions made driving difficult. The drive seemed to take an eternity. Karen parked in the hospital lot and rushed toward the brightly lit doors. She’d walked through these doors many times and knew exactly where to go.

The elevator was empty; it was three o’clock in the morning. When she got to the right floor, several familiar faces in hospital garb greeted her. They looked exhausted, their faces almost gray in the florescent light.

One nurse gently touched her arm and said, “Are you ready to see him?” Before Karen could respond, the nurse guided her to a closed door and said quietly, “Go on in.”

Karen stood in front of the door, pausing, with the knowledge that her life was about to change. She reached down and opened the door.

Karen was greeted by the smiling face of her daughter, Alisa, who was holding a tiny little bundle that let out an ear-piercing scream right at that very moment. The nurses laughed and one said, “He’s definitely got a voice. He’s going to let you know what he wants, for sure!”

On a chair in the corner, her son-in-law, Jake, was sound asleep. His blond hair was messy from the habit of running his hands through it while under stress, but he looked peaceful. Even the baby’s cry didn’t wake him.

“I tried to wait for you to get here, mom,” Alisa said, looking almost apologetic, “but he was too impatient and wouldn’t wait.” She smiled and then added, “I guess he takes after his daddy. What do you think?”

Karen moved slowly over to the bed. Even as she reached down, Alisa was reaching up to hand her the bundle that was her new grandson. She thought to herself, “He is finally here. I just wish Edward could see him.”

As she held her grandson and smelled his sweet baby scent, Alisa told her, “Jake and I have decided to name him Edward, after daddy.”

Karen didn’t say anything because she didn’t want to cry. Instead, she leaned over and pulled back the soft blue blanket so she could see the baby’s face. As she looked down at him, he opened his eyes and looked straight up at her. He had Edward’s eyes.

She looked from baby to daughter and with her heart full of joy said, “Your daddy would be so happy.” Karen leaned over and kissed the baby’s forehead, whispering, “Welcome, baby Edward.”

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I want to thank Joanna Paterson of Confident Writing. This story was started at her Treasure Conscious Class, which focuses on writing, journaling and photography.

Illustration: Matt84