Sara could never quite figure out who she was. Now with the emptiness she’s a stranger. A stranger even in her shadows.
Sara felt a light tap on her shoulder and tried to process what it meant before realizing that it was the nurse.
“Ms. Barnes, sorry to wake you but I need to check your blood pressure. You have been taking the sedatives more frequent than is normal. Are you in a lot of pain still?”
Sara nodded. This patient controlled analgesia infusion pump was her only savior. She would press the little red button every three hours before the first dose wore off. Was she in pain? Sara dared not tell the nurse that she was numbing her soul and not her body. It seemed impossible to clear the lump of dark system weighing on her chest and continuing to build and form the great depression of her life. The way the emptiness rose from the broken cords of her little ovaries all the way up to her core and pushed a heavy grey cloud into her throat was more pain than she could bear. Thank God if only for Percocet and the deep abyss of nothingness it sent her into for at least four hours.
“Your pressure is kind of high. Try to ease up off the medication. The doctor is concerned with the amount you’re having because your blood pressure has increased. We’ll put you on oral medication in a couple of hours.”
Sara resisted the urge to start pumping as much of her liquid savior into her veins as possible before they robbed her of it. She dreaded the thought of having to deal with her recovery. Couldn’t she just sleep thorough it, she thought? She hated her body. Few people have betrayed her in life. That she had been able to deal with. But her own body?! What a slap in the face. Hadn’t she taken good care of it, always mindful of what she fed it and determined to get a satisfying amount of exercise? Many women had envied her body, not knowing the insidiousness of its insides.
She looked at the nurse. Janet, her name tag read. She couldn’t have been more than 24 years old with a defined Jamaican accent.
Janet met her eyes and smiled. “While I’m here I’m going to check your bandages ok?”
“Ok” Sara said feebly not wanting to talk at all.
“Wow, what a great job he’s done. You can barely see a scar.” Janet stated after removing the bandages. “Take a look”, she remarked.
Sara shook her head.
“You don’t want to see it,” asked a seemingly confused Janet.
With the floodgates about to burst in her head Sara shook her head again and turned toward the window. She wondered if the nurse realized that she wasn’t quite ready to face the evidence of her harsh reality as the woman went on about her duties in silence.
As the nurse exited the room Sara took her last squeeze on the red button to get a last shot of her merciful painkiller, as it would be her last. She needed all the numbing she could get while she could get it. She glanced at the round-faced white clock perched high above the armchair, which was covered in a peach fabric with prints of seashells woven into it. It’s hands told it was 2:03 p.m. In about five hours Mia would be there to take her home.
Home…did she even have a home, Sara thought glancing out the window. There was always a sense of abnormality about her. Now, she was certain she didn’t belong in this world. She just didn’t fit in. Everyone around her lived “normal” lives where things happened in the order you dreamed they would when you were young. But not for her, her life always seemed to be as grey as the clouds she saw from the view of her window, hovering over a not so normal day that appeared to be waiting for that great voice to command, “Sunny with light winds, no chance of rain”, so that they, puffed up as they are, would have brighter days. Sara understood them so well. Even as her sedated high crept in she wondered if the earth would ever come around for her but she doubted it as she welcomed the deathlike sleep.
Mia arrived just as Sara was signing the last of the release papers. She wore a beautiful smile on her round, plump face as she strolled into the room. Some twenty years they’ve been best friends and Sara have never known this woman to rush or carry on with any sense of urgency. Cool, calm and collected should be all that’s written on Mia’s tombstone at the end of her days. Sara returned the smile to her friend and thought how blessed she was to have her. When her own family didn’t consider her a priority, Mia had. And now during the most memorable moment of her life here she was again, faithfully by her side.
Sara gingerly pulled the soft, pale blue cotton dress over her head with Mia’s help. As they gathered up her items, she barely heard a word Mia was saying about the horror she had in the kitchen trying to make her favorite soup as a welcome home treat. One thought plagued the front of her mind at the moment. How was she going to break the news to her boyfriend? She had met Jonathon Starks after years of thinking she would end up alone, travelling the world like a nomad. He had been a glimmer of light in her dark world. Sara felt a pang of guilt for not allowing him to see her while in the hospital. She just couldn’t face him. Or was it the idea of losing him that she couldn’t come face to face with? But she must tell him his odds of continuing on with her.
It just wasn’t fair, not to him, to be thrust into a decision like this just as they were climaxing to the next stage of their relationship and thinking of a life together. It certainly wasn’t fair to her having to deal with the thought of losing him after all she has lost already.
There was no way around it. It is what is it she mumbled, climbing into Mia’s glossy black BMW. Her friend looked at her with a clouded, sympathetic sadness in her eyes. It was almost as if she knew what haunted Sara’s thoughts as they made their way onto Sheridan Street.
As the car sped on, so did her heart as she rehearsed how she would tell Jonathan that she would never be able to carry his child. Her heart ached for him more than herself.
“Where is God in all of this?” Sara wondered aloud.
Mia reached over and squeezed her hand. “When you’re down to nothing, God is up to something, sweetie,” she tried to assure her.
Staring straight ahead, Sara was quite annoyed with God at the moment and didn’t want to hear any of those pitiful lines meant to give suckers like her false hope, not even from her best friend.
“Yeah, maybe He is…” she smiled at Mia patronizingly.
Feeling guilty for the undeserved attitude she gave her friend, Sara turned up the volume on the radio. Jonathan once again heavy on her mind, she forced herself to pay attention to the lyrics floating in the air. How could she bring herself to be the bearer of this news to a man who spent the last few months sharing his hopes and dreams for them and their future family?
The lyrics rang out in her head, “What’s love without tragedy…” The artist was right. With her track record, there could never be love without tragedy.