When I woke up in the morning I was alone. I struggled to sit up but the slight pain in my chest warned me to stay where I was and rest. I grabbed for the alarm clock that I hadn’t heard go off yet. I started to panic when I saw that it was 10:00. There was so much to be done on weekdays! Especially Mondays! I couldn’t sleep! I had to take Zoë to school, I had to go food shopping, I had to wash the car, I had to clean the garage and various other places in our house, but mostly I had to take care of Anya so I could relive Clare of some of her duties so she could rest.
I noticed a small paper on top of the alarm clock. I grabbed it and read the note out loud to myself. “Took Zoë to school, didn’t want to wake you, going shopping with Anya, will be back at 4 with your children. Signed, your loving wife. PS: GO BACK TO BED!!!” The last part was underlined three times and in bold print. I sighed in relief but felt guilty. Clare was supposed to be resting. I hoped she actually felt well enough to do all those chores and wasn’t just doing them because she wanted me to stay in bed.
“I guess I could rest for a little while longer,” I said out loud to no one. I closed my eyes and the next thing I knew the phone was ringing. I jumped up ignoring the pain that occured every time I did something fast and spontaneous. I grabbed the phone off the dresser. “Hello?” I asked the person on the other end of the line.
“Taylor, hi It’s Mom.”
I smiled. “Hey Ma! How are you?” I looked at the clock, it was eleven. I had had at least an hour nap.
“I’m good, how are you doing Taylor?”
“I’m all right.” I rotated my stiff shoulders as I talked, sleeping on my side all night usually caused my muscles to stiffen. I wished Clare was home, she gave excelent back rubs.
“I’m worried about you, Jordan,” my mother said.
“Don’t be,” I replied extending my right arm out to the side of my body. I wiggled my fingers making sure that they weren’t pins and needles.
“How can I not be? Your father and I want to come up and visit you. You know, help out around the house with whatever we can.”
I put my hand on my knee and searched the floor with my foot for the pants that I had taken off the day before. “Mother, we’re fine,” I insisted.
“Taylor you just had a heart attack for the love of Pete.”
“I know Ma.” I found my pants and pulled them on. “I’m reminded of that every day.” I sat back on the bed and tried to remember where I had tossed my favorite T-shirt. “Every day someone hits me with ‘Taylor, shouldn’t you be sleeping?’ To which I reply ‘I was until I had to get up to answer the phone.’ Last night my daughter asked me if I was going to leave her like her friend’s dad left her. I don’t want to think about what would happen if I did die that day. I’m here now. I’m alive. I’m breathing. Besides a little pain every now and then from moving too quickly I’m the same person I was before my heart attack.”
“Forgive me for caring about my son’s health. It isn’t every day where a mother gets a phone call from her daughter-in-law crying about how her husband was found in Central Park not breathing. Pardon me for praying that he recovers.” My mother’s voice broke and I knew she was about to cry.
“I’m so sorry,” I blurted out. “Don’t cry, please! I didn’t mean to sound ungrateful. It’s just that I’m trying to live my life and not think about what happened that day. I guess I won’t know how it feels to get a phone call like that unless I get one myself. I can’t begin to imagine what it felt like on the outside, but I sure know what it feels to be that person in the park. Listen Mom, what I’m trying to say is that I’m fine. I was let out of the hospital wasn’t I?”
“Therefore,” I went on, “the doctor thought it was all right for me to be at home. That’s where I am. At home. Resting. Clare won’t let me do ANYTHING. I feel horrible because she should be resting too, but she can’t. We’re parents, resting time comes once in a blue moon, you should know that.”
“How is Clare doing anyway?”
“She’s good. Basically she isn’t having any more problems with this kid. She has an appointment at the obstetrician today at noon.”
“That’s good... Taylor it’s a wonder she’s still having this child at all.”
“What do you mean by that?” I asked sharply.
“I shouldn’t have said anything at all... I’m sorry.”
“Tell me,” I demanded. “You can’t just start something and not finish it. Especially something that starts off like that.”
“If Clare didn’t say anything to you then it’s none of my business to tell you. She probably didn’t want to worry you that’s all. I mean you had so much on your mind that it actually led to a heart attack.”
“Mother, please,” I begged. “Tell me what happened.”
“When you were in the hospital there was a problem with your baby.”
“What type of problem?”
“Taylor honey, Clare thought she lost it.”