At this point, the chemical smell of the hospital and the unadorned walls surrounding me were too much to work through in addition to what happened to me already.
I was thankful that the sharp lump in my throat, the grotesque lump that signified endless sobbing, was gone. For now. As I lingered in the waiting room for doctors, no one consoled me. My mother sat in a chair in a corner, a sorry frown etched across her face. I would occasionally look back at her, tears still evident in my red, swollen eyes and she’d mouth ‘I’m so sorry’.
Damn it, it wasn’t her fault.
I’m sure the news circulated through the small hospital due to the groups of doctors that would wander past. They’d still be focused on their work, as every doctor would, but they’d cast me a comforting glance or nod.
Fixating on not crying more of my make-up off, I hardly noticed the doctor walk up to me and gentle touch my shoulder.
“Mrs. Lawrence.” She sighed. Her low ponytail was messy. She’d been through just about as much today as I had. In her hand, grasped in her tight, white and shaking knuckles, was a bag of Jonathan’s clothes. “I’m sure you’d like to keep these.”
His cologne wafted from the bag. Every minute of me trying to cover up my sadness ticked away. Out of my mouth and without my direct consent, came a broken sob.
I had just lost my husband. Screw trying to keep in controlled.
“Thank you.” My mother took the bag in one hand and pushed my aching head into her shoulder, letting me whimper as she accepted Jonathan’s clothes from the doctor.
Silently, they ushered me from the waiting room and out the doors. My mother passed the bag to my father, who remained wordless the entire night. Steely but composed. He attempted to hide it from my view but nothing could block out the tendrils of Calvin Klein cologne that taunted my nose.
Once at the car, my mother sat me down in the backseat and slid the bag next to me. Still trying to comfort me, she said “He’s okay. You have to understand that.” I nodded, fat tears rolling down my flushed cheeks. Tears Jonathan would wipe away in a hurry but now I was stuck rapidly pawing them off my face before they soaked my shirt collar.
I stared at the bag. Jonathan’s flannel was bundled up along with his pants, boxers, socks and shoes. Damn those socks. The ones he always left balled up at the foot of our bed. Reaching inside, I pulled out the flannel, shoving it to my nose. I paid no mind to my parents. I just sat there and sobbed into his shirt, inhaling the cologne he spritzed on before he left for his doctor’s appointment.
“He fell into cardiac arrest.” The doctors claimed. Of course. My one special person in this world was...