In the middle of the night, Jeff had a heart attack and Shayla rode in the ambulance next to him, holding his gray hand, adrenaline surging through her body so she almost couldn’t breathe and the siren screaming above them as they raced through the dark toward the doctor who would press hard with his gloved hands on the body that she no longer recognized while Shayla sat in this bright fluorescent waiting room with its plastic chairs and piles of magazines with those vacuous celebrity faces smiling or looking down their noses even though they were the ones choosing to stand in a room full of strangers with their clothes off, and Shayla knew that this was the worst thing that had ever happened to her; she thought with dread of calling Jeff’s mother and sister and telling them what had happened and hearing them cry, but there was also a tiny thought in the back of her mind that when this was all over maybe she could find another man who didn’t drink as much and didn’t get into trouble at work and didn’t want to wait another year to have a baby even though Shayla had been waiting six years already and maybe then she could finally be happy, but then the doctor came out and smiled and smiled and shook her hand and said what a relief this must be.
Leah Browning is the author of three short nonfiction books and four chapbooks. Her fiction and poetry have recently appeared in Chagrin River Review, Fiction Southeast, Mud Season Review, Glassworks Magazine, and with audio and video recordings in The Poetry Storehouse.
This piece was originally published on Flash Flash Click. We are honored to host it here in partnership and collaboration.
Image: “ambulance” by Luigi de Guzman