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A New Day
The sun rises, a new day begins. The city bustles with the activity of ten-thousand people shaping their futures. George wakes up and gets ready for another busy day of signing meaningless documents, all to be filed away and never seen again. He walks down the stairs, wood creaking with each step. George is a portly man, of higher than average weight. He walks with a peculiar gait, one that is the sole domain of men who don’t watch their health as closely as they should.
A low, sizzling sound can be heard from the kitchen. The smell of fresh, organic eggs wafts around the hallway, enticing the nose. George winces, disliking the smell of wasted money on the frying pan. He walks into the kitchen to say good morning to Anna, his wife.
“Good morning, Honey. I heard you coming down, so I put some eggs on the stove.”
“I have to go to work early today, there’s a lot to catch up on. Sorry I won’t be here for your five-star breakfast,” says George, apologetically. He sits down to put on his shoes, shined to the point of looking like sepia-tinted mirrors.
“More for me, then,” she chuckles. “Do you want me to put it in a bowl to go?”
“I’ll pick up a few doughnuts to go.”
“By the way, I really hope you would start that fitness program I told you about.”
“Honey, I’m a busy person. I don’t have time for that kind of thing. I have to get going now.” They kiss, and George exits their 1940’s style house. He starts up his blue PT Cruiser, drives up the brick street, and enters the drive-thru lane of the nearest donut shop.
“Hey, whaddya want?” an annoyed voice emanates from the speaker. It has the sound of a sixteen-year old who hates his position in life.
“I’ll have a dozen cake donuts, please,” says George. “Act peppy. Speaking like you’re better than everyone else won’t get you far,” he adds. George moves his car up to the pickup window, and the teen forks over the box with a scowl. George takes two and digs them into his mouth as he drives away.
Halfway to work, as he drives on route 48, he feels a sudden stab of pain behind his left breastbone. The pain grows on him as drives, spreading across his broad chest. The box of donuts is finished, lying haphazardly open on the passenger seat. A cold sweat forms on his brow, his breathing becomes shallow, and his vision becomes blurry.
“Oh God,” he stammers between his rapid breaths. Another sharp wave of pain hits him, and as a reflex he jerks the car into oncoming traffic. He hears an explosive boom, a sudden metallic shredding, and the view outside the car flips over. There is an explosion of sound and glass, his vision turns red, and slowly fades to black.
A commotion, the beeping of a heart monitor, a baby wailing down the hallway, a soft blanket, the frail touch of his wife’s hand- these are his first senses, or rather, what he picks up during the scattered moments of consciousness he manages to gain over the next few days. Anna visits often, wanting to apologize for not keeping him in shape, but he is incoherent.
When he first wakes for more than two minutes, she is there.
“Hey, you’re awake!” whispers Anna. She is diminished due to the sadness of the recent few days, but not without a certain sorrowful beauty.
“What…happened…?” George tries to talk; even the faintest whisper is physically taxing.
“You…you had a heart attack. You’ve been out for days.” The full weight of his lifestyle suddenly falls upon him; he is filled with such a strong feeling of guilt- he squirms under the shame of chaining his wife to such a life.
Anna is alarmed at the sudden intensity of his complexion, and draws back for a moment. She looks deep into his eyes, and sees the revelations that are raging inside George. “I’ll leave you be for now- you need rest.” She smiles faintly, and then walks out of the dimly lit hospital room. She pauses for an imperceptible moment at the door, and she is gone.
The sun rises, a new day begins. The city bustles with the activity of ten-thousand people shaping their futures. This day, George shapes his.