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Her eyes were closed. It seemed that everything in her brain was on fire, because the inside of her eyelids were glowing red. She sighed, realizing that she had slept late once again. She cracked her eyes open to tiny slits, like paper cuts, to see sunlight glaring through her shutters. She rolled over, closed her eyes again, and knew she wouldn't be getting back to sleep.
Getting up these days was very hard. That stupid sun would come in through the window in the late morning and wake her up, but it seemed to get harder and harder to get up every day. After all, she didn't have much to look forward to by getting up.
Each morning, she would look at the bed and notice she was the only one in it. Then, eventually, she would get up and make coffee for one. Sometimes she would eat breakfast, but she didn't have to fix very much, because she was going to be the only one eating.
Ever since Kevin had died, all she could do was think about how things were before. Perhaps if she kept thinking about how things used to be, they would go back. She knew that wasn't true, but what was ever wrong with wishful thinking? She rubbed her hand over the growing curve of her belly, and tears bit at her surface. How could she ever raise a child alone?
Kevin was supposed to be the provider. He had always wanted it to be that way, she remembered talking about marriage in high school. 'Babe, just stay with me and you'll have nothing to worry about. All I want is to take care of you.'
Those words always brought a smile to her lips, even now. He had just gotten hired at a hospital, as a surgeon. Kevin and Reese had suffered through eight years of medical school so they could sit back and relax for the rest of their lives, but now all of that had changed.
The night Kevin had come home with a dazed look on his face, Reese had thought that something was wrong at first. She nearly dropped the big wooden spoon she had been holding to ask him what was wrong. If something bad was happening with finances it would be real bad now that her period was two weeks late.
'Reesey, we're never going to have to look for quarters under that couch again,' Kevin said, a strange smile breaking on his face.
'What?' was the only thing she could think to say.
'The interview...the interview I went to today at Dean Carter Hospital...Reese, I'm starting in a week,' Kevin said, with a look of awe in his eyes.
The she did drop the spoon, splattering red spaghetti sauce all over the cheap linoleum floor of the kitchen. She leaped into his arms, laughing so hard tears sprouted from her eyelids.
'This news couldn't have come at a better time,' Reese whispered into his ear. He pulled away from her, looking confused but still happy, and asked why that was.
Kevin looked at her long and hard, and for a terrifying moment Reese thought he might not be happy with this, then he took her into his arms once more, hugging even tighter than before. 'That's wonderful, baby. I don't know if I can wait nine months.'
The real tears came then, they held each other for what seemed like forever, both feeling that their lives were going to be nothing but perfection from that moment on. The phone rang then, it was Kevin's sister, wondering how the interview went. He shared the same great news with her, and Reese could hear her scream of excitement from across the kitchen. He hung up the phone not long after.
'She's offered to treat us to dinner,' Kevin said, and they got in the crappy Toyota they had shared for ten years, which would soon be replaced by something new and excellent in no time. How could things possibly get better?
They never found out, because they never even made it to dinner.
Reese burnt her tongue on the coffee she had made herself, but she didn't care enough to hiss in pain. She only kept on drinking, feeling her scalded tongue throb in protest. She absently reached her right hand up to the left side of her neck, and felt the tiny jagged scar there.
It was the only thing Reese would walk away with from the car accident. Just a little scratch on the neck, yet Kevin had been turned into an unrecognizable mess.
They had been driving along the main road into town, laughing and feeling in the highest spirits they had ever felt in, and then a pickup hauling a mess of tree branches pulled out in front of them.
'Wonder where he's taking those,' Kevin said absently, not really wondering about that or caring at all. Reese nodded in ritual agreement, then turned to look out her side of the window. The next thing she knew she was in the hospital, but the only treatment she needed was a little Band-Aid on the side of her neck.
'Ma'am, how are you feeling?' the fat, stubby-looking nurse asked her, holding a clipboard with an impossible amount of papers on them.
'Where am I?' Reese had asked, dazed. She felt like she had been hit by a truck to be honest, but that didn't matter. Where was Kevin?
'You're at the Dean Carter Hospital, ma'am. Are you having any trouble with sight or hearing?' she asked routinely, checking her blood pressure and everything else.
'Well I'm having trouble hearing, yes. Did you say I was at the hospital? What happened? And where's my husband?' Reese asked, starting too feel less dazed and more frantic.
A look came over the nurse's face, and she tried to change the subject by asking some medical questions.
'Look, I want to know where my husband is!' Reese shouted, not wanting to accept the truth. They don't stall like this when your husband is going to be okay.
The nurse sighed and closed her eyes, then broke the news to her. 'You were in a very bad car accident. A tree branch fell off from the pickup truck in front of you and went through the windshield. It hit your husband square in the head. I'm so sorry.'
Reese didn't know what to say. For a moment she thought she might actually laugh. There was no way that could have happened. They were just driving to go out to dinner, to celebrate. To celebrate Kevin's new job, and her pregnancy.
'But I'm pregnant,' was what Reese eventually said.
A new look of sympathy came over the nurses face and she repeated that she was so sorry once again, and then walked out of the room.
Reese was too sad to cry. All she did was rub her stomach, hoping it was a boy, so she could name it Kevin Jr.
It had been six months, and Reese was living off of her dead husband's life insurance only. She would have to find a job soon. A job to support her baby, who was indeed a boy. Now tears came, and she watched them splash into her coffee and create a ripple through the thick brown beverage. She wasn't sure if she would ever stop crying. She wasn't sure if she would ever start living again.