“Once upon a time, there was a princess and she had a pretty little kitty…”.
And so I tell my little story to a precious little girl who is on her way to falling asleep, her eyes looking at me trustingly. At some point during my story-telling, a little thumb finds its way back into a little mouth, and little eyes are drooping with sleep.
Before I even reach the “…and they all lived happily ever after” part, her eyes has already closed in deep sleep.
It is a relief of sorts, telling and finishing the story, as if a hurdle had been jumped over.
With the event of earlier once again pushing its place to the front of my mind, it brings with it that familiar feeling of helplessness that I can’t do anything about, yet. But for the night at least, I have given a little girl that sense of safety and trust, enough that she goes peacefully to sleep.
I lay down on the bed beside Bea, finding my own sleep elusive. Anyway, I have to wait up for Su’s call. I cuddle to the warm little body next to me, more for my own comfort than hers. Bea is deeply in dreamland. Any minute now Su is going to call, and her baby is not going to be awake to say goodnight to her mama.
As if on cue, the phone rings in my living room. I tuck the blankets more securely around Bea, and go to answer the phone.
The few steps it takes me to reach the phone, finds me praying hard that the caller is Su and that the fact that it has only been a few hours since she said that she will call means that there are good news.
It is Susana. Right after saying ‘Hello!’ she immediately asks about Bea.
I tell her that Bea is asleep, and apologize for not having her stay up. I realize belatedly that Susana will have wanted to listen to her baby’s sweet voice.
“Do you want me to wake her up? She can always go back to sleep later.” I ask.
Susana replies, “No, that’s fine, Nys, thank you. As much as I wanted to hear her voice, I’m actually glad she’s asleep. I don’t relish trying to explain things to her right now. Let her sleep.”
There is silence for a moment, during which I hold my breath and hoping desperately for good news. I find myself unable to ask.
There is an almost audible sigh at the other end, and then a deep shuddering gasp, as if Su herself is struggling with something. I find myself wanting to reach out through the phone and give her the hug she obviously needs, for many reasons. I keep quiet.
And then, she says, “However, there is news about Brennan’s condition.” Silence again. It seems that maybe she is collecting herself to give the final news.
When she does, it all comes in a rush, “Oh Nysa! I talked to Brennan’s doctors. They confirmed that it isn’t a heart-attack, but an extreme reaction to pure exhaustion. I don’t know much about it, and I’m sure the doctors were kind enough to explain, but I just couldn’t really focus, you know? I heard the ‘not a heart attack’ part and almost fainted in relief, myself!” her words tumble over each other.
Now that I know what to listen for, I can hear the relief in her voice and it is so strong that I can almost touch it….figuratively speaking.
My heart soars. It is as if a heavy stone has dropped off it, releasing it to fly free in jubilation.
“Oh, Su! Oh, wow, that is such good news! Thank God!” I cheer.
Susana laugh-cry in response from the other end.
“Yes! Yes.” She laughs again, softly this time, “Brennan only passed out when he did because he had been over-doing it as usual, and his body is exhausted and couldn’t handle the extra stress. They have him on a mild sedative, so he can sleep comfortably. Oh Nysa, I’m so glad it’s nothing more serious. Maybe now, he’ll pay attention to his own needs more. He has to know that he has a family who can’t afford to lose him. He scared me.” Susana’s voice cracks a little at the end.
“Oh Su, of course. He scared us all, I think. But what happens now? How long will they keep him there, do you know?” I ask.
“Maybe just for tonight. Dr. Linc said that as soon as Brennan wakes up, they’re going to run some more test, and if everything checks out okay, they’ll release him under his own observation, provided he takes a few weeks off to recuperate. Dr. Linc said that being home for some TLC will be as good a therapy for Brennan as at the hospital. Better in fact, since I can go after him if he neglects to eat or rest, and he won’t snap at me the way he would if a nurse is the one taking care of him. Not that he has been snapping at people.” I can just see the small satisfied smile on Su’s face as she says it.
Yep, watch out, Brennan, your wife is on your case now and she is not going to go easy on you! It’s time you take some hard, bitter medicine for your own good! No pun intended.
Out loud, I say, “Well, that is good news indeed. I’m so happy for you both that everything will be fine with Brennan. So, the doctor basically said that all he needs is to slow down and have lots of rest? Sounds about right. Dr. Brennan should know that even physicians will get sick and need healing if they forget to mind their own health.”
Susana hums in agreement.
I am so glad that she sounds better now that the worse has passed. I can never imagine picking up the phone and hearing the opposite to a good news.
Susana and I exchange a few more words, the both of us needing the extra comfort and shared reliefs after the emotional roller-coaster of earlier, her more than me obviously. I promise to kiss Bea goodnight for her, and then we both hang up the phone.
With a smile, I walk back to my bedroom, happy that things are all right with Brennan.
I kiss Bea goodnight both for her mother and me, looking at the precious sight of her sleeping in my bed.
A child growing up without her father? Could have happened, and thank God it hasn’t, not for Bea.
I curl up once more beside Bea, holding her close. She never wakes up for the night, her sleep is that deep. I laugh lowly when I remember that I could have woken her up with my loud cheer earlier, but it seems that the saying about the innocent and their sleep is quite true. Their slumber will not be disturbed.
I myself soon fall asleep, while still thinking that at least for the night, things are good and looking hopeful.
Continued next chapter…
For previous chapters read here https://myreadingpoet.com/category/fiction-and-short-stories/
Great reading material https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems