[Click here for part one]

Have you ever noticed how easily your entire world can be turned completely upside down?  How it kind of sneaks up on you quietly and then wham, you get hit with something that changes everything.

For most things the details about most things in life tend to fade over the years until most of what you remember is just the fact that they happened.  Well this day is something that I’ll remember the details of if I live to be ten thousand years old.

The day started out like any other.  It was a Thursday and I was up at six to get ready for work.  By seven thirty I was ready to leave and Amanda wasn’t up yet.  She’d been really tired for the last week or so and had been sleeping later because of it.  I went in to let her know I was leaving and found her sitting up in bed looking like she was about to lose her lunch.

“Hey, you ok?” I asked.  “I don’t think so.” she answered.  “I’ve felt awful for days now.  Yesterday I traded shifts with Casey so I can go to the clinic today.”

This got my full attention.  Mandy didn’t like doctors and avoided them like the plague.  The fact that she had decided to go see one meant that she was feeling a lot worse than she’d let me believe.

“It’s that serious?  Maybe I should go with you.” I said.  She shook her head (and quickly regretted it) “No. I’ll be ok.”  I didn’t like this.  I had an uneasy feeling that left me tempted to call in sick and go with her anyway.  The only reason I didn’t was because I knew she wouldn’t let me get away with it.

“Alright but I want you to promise to call me as soon as you find out what’s going on.”

“I will, I promise.  You’d better go or you’ll be late.”  As if I cared about that when she felt bad enough to see a doctor.  “They’ll get over it.” I said.  “Really, it’s ok.  I’ll be fine” she insisted.

I kissed her goodbye and told her “ok, but I’m expecting a call from you today.”  “I promise” she said “now go.”  I reluctantly left, still feeling uneasy about the whole thing.

The one good thing about walking to work is that you don’t have to talk to anyone along the way, it gives you time to think.  Of course that can also be a bad thing and today it was.  I couldn’t get the image of her sitting there, looking like she was about to hurl, out of my mind.  When somebody who really hates going to the doctor decides on their own to do just that . . . Well, it’s cause for worry to say the least.

Work wasn’t any help either.  Factory jobs aren’t exactly what you’d call mentally demanding.  Most of the jobs are the kind of thing that you could train a Chimp to do.  They just use humans because they don’t cost as much to train as Chimps do.  My job was operating a punch press.  I put a piece of aluminum plate in it, actvated the press, then took out the part and put it in a bin.  Not only could a Chimp do it, they could easily have automated it entirely.

This left me with eight hours of time to think.  Normally this is good.  It let me work out problems and ideas.  Today all I could think about was all the things that could be the problem.  It could have been anything from something she ate to a bad case of the flu to who knows what.

What bothered me even more than thinking of all the possibilities was that she didn’t call.  The problem was that I couldn’t call her.  We didn’t have a phone, nor did any of our neighbors, we used pay phones instead.  Remember, this is back long before everybody had cell phones, they hadn’t been invented yet.  Oh, there were “car phones”, really expensive big clunky things that you could pay a fortune to have mounted in your car but that was it.

The saying goes “Time flies when you’re having fun”.  However when you’re worried about the love of your life, it drags like molasses flowing uphill in a New England January.  Eight hours seemed more like eight days.  When quitting time finally came I did a quick half ass job of cleaning up my area, clocked out and got out of there as fast as I could.

Even walking as quickly as I could without breaking into a run the trip home was interminable as well but finally I was there.  The door was locked and suddenly I wondered if she was even home yet and why she wouldn’t be.  I unlocked it and went inside.

A wave of relief flooded me as I saw her sitting on the couch staring at the tv.  “Mandy? You ok?” I asked.  Then I noticed it wasn’t turned on.  Things were definitely not ok.  That wave subsided quickly.

When I sat down beside her I saw the tears running down her cheek.  This was serious indeed.  She didn’t cry easily and the fact that she was meant she was really upset.  “Hey, what’s wrong?” I asked.  “Nothing’s wrong” she said quietly.

If there is one thing that I have learned about women it is that when they say “nothing’s wrong”, you can bet your last dollar that it’s not even close to “nothing”.

“When you didn’t call I was worried.” I said.  She looked up at me with an apologetic look and some fresh tears. “oh, I’m so sorry.  I forgot.”

Another red flag.  Amanda never forgets anything, she’s got an eidetic memory, computers forget more than she does.

“Don’t worry about it, it’s ok.  What’d the doc say?”

I could see her holding back the tears as she looked at me.  “I’m pregnant” she said and then all but collapsed in my arms as she started crying again.  “I’m not ready to be a mother.” she said haltingly through the tears.  “and how are we going to take care of a baby when we’re always broke?  Even worse, I’ll have to quit my job.”

I held her, trying to offer whatever comfort I could.  “We’ll manage somehow.” I told her “We always do.  You should be able to keep your job for a while anyway. and Mandy, I can’t imagine a better mother than you.”

She looked up at me “You really mean that?” she asked.  “Absolutely.  That’s one lucky kid you’re going to have.” I assured her.

Slowly the tears subsided as we spent the rest of the night talking.  Before we realized it, the sun’s first rays were shining through the window and we heard the sound of the alarm clock in the next room.

“Oh no!”  she exclaimed.  “I’ve kept you up all night!”  “That’s ok” I replied “Just knowing that you’re not only not sick but that you’re the mother of my kid is worth it.  I’m tired but I’ll make it.  Tonight however we sleep.  We have all weekend to talk.”

As I walked to work that Friday morning I was thankful for the time to think and that my job gave me all the thinking time I needed.  Suddenly it wasn’t so bad having a boring job a Chimp could do.

[To be continued . . .]
Click here for part three

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Filed under: Dreams, A True Love StoryNon FictionShort Stories

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