Held Her Hand Tight

March 28, 2009
I sat beside the bed and held her hand tight. She looked paler than ever; her skin had a grayish tint to it. She looked up at me, her eyelids heavy. She took a deep breath and sighed "I love you". And with that, the strongest person I had ever known past away; never again to set foot on this beautiful green earth. I felt the tears come, allowing them and the shudders to take their course with me.
About five minutes later, nurses came in to take her away and to comfort me. I had been a regular in this Hospital for about six months now. Angel, who worked afternoon shifts, had stayed later today, knowing that today I would need a friend close by afterwards. She held me now, patting me on the back, just like my mama used to do with me after a really bad day. It was too much, so I pulled away. She looked at me in a way as if questioning my sanity after a trauma, such as losing my mother. I just shook my head, ran out the door, down the hallway to the stairs, the sound reverberating off the walls and resounding in my ears. After almost falling a couple of times, I made it to the thick door, pushing hard for it to open. The lobby was filled with people and their loved ones. Some that will make it without a problem; some that will hand on for a long time with most recovering in the end but the other few who will not make it; some who will be gone tomorrow or even tonight. I brushed past an elderly couple checking in to the doors that led to the outside world. I ran straight at them, and they opened automatically. What a small gesture this is. As if allowing you to get free of this place faster will make up for the fact that someone you love, loved, just died. Many had passed through these door before me, and there would be countless others after me; someone who had had a heart attack, a brother who had been in a bad fight and had a busted lip, a grandmother who had broken her hip for the second time, a housewife who's husband will have a bad day and take it out on her, a grandfather who will take to pneumonia particularly bad, and the numerous newborns who have and will pass threw these doors wrapped up tight in their mother's arms, secure.
I tripped over my feet to the small, white, Dodge truck that sat in the third closest spot to the doors. Gray, heavy clouds hung above, the feeling of rain in the air.
The door slammed shut as I turned the key in the ignition, hearing the engine rumbling to life. I pulled out of the parking lot, and drove to the first 4-way intersection. All four lanes were deserted except for my lone truck. The light turned red as I pulled up. Five seconds... ten seconds... fifteen seconds... I drummed my fingers against the steering wheel, anxious to get home before reality sank in and I lost it.
After what seemed like an eternity, the light turned green and I lurched forward to the other side. I drove by the school, a small grocery store, and a church, crowded with cars and a few late stragglers.
I felt the tears strolling down my face. They fell onto my dry, cracked lips, the salt stinging. I brushed them away. I pulled over to the side of the road, and curled up on my side in the small cab.
I closed my eyes, trying to squeeze away the tears, trying to make the pain go away. The phone buzzed beside my ear. It was quiet compared to the pelting rain and hurling wind. I grabbed it and turned it off without taking notice of who was calling. It beeped, then went black.





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