A few hours passed by, the bulb of the operation room went off and the surgeon In his green scrubs came out. Walking steadily towards us, one look at his face and I knew something was wrong. He’d obviously learned to mask his expression, but his posture announced the gloomy news. The sloped shoulders and counted footsteps were a sure sign for disaster. Bad news was inevitable; the question was, how bad was the news he was about to break.
Let all be well, I prayed fervently despite the negative signs in front of me. My experience, escorting Summer’s mother to the hospital during her battle with cancer, taught me a few things about doctors. Merely from their gesture while approaching a patient, you could tell if it was going to be good news or bad news. With the doctor standing in front of me, the signs were screaming “Bad.”
He began with the usual, ‘I’m sorry’… Crap
Julie had passed on and the babies were to be kept in an incubator for a few days until they stabilized. Samuel blanked out after hearing Julie’s demise, he just stared into space, said nothing, did nothing.
“Sam?” “Sam,“ I whispered shaking him lightly at the shoulder.
He didn’t even shrug me off, just stood there with a blank expression on his face. A nurse came and showed us to a small pediatric room. It had baby pink and sky blue colors painted on alternate walls. Drawings of Mickey, Minnie, a baby in a crib and little stars-moon were plastered on the wall. We weren’t allowed to enter. In front of us was a huge rectangular see-through window. With my left arm firmly wrapped around Sam’s shoulders, peering through the window, two babies lay in an incubator. They were wearing the pink overalls I and Julie had picked out previously.
From my vantage point, I could see they were sleeping. Hearing a sniffle above me, I looked up to see tears streaming down Sam’s eyes as he saw his baby girls.
“It’s going to be okay,” was all I could say
I was relieved when I saw him cry because any emotion was better than no emotion.
A few papers were processed and Sam was allowed into the hospital mortuary to sign off Julie’s body.
Staring through the window that housed Sam’s babies, all I could think of was-
“How did we get here”
Over a year ago, we were carefree college graduates with the world as our oyster. I, Sam and Summer- making plans, creating dreams and enjoying the adventure called life. And now here we were- Summer gone to lord knows where, Sam a widower with two incredible babies and me…
The cry of the babies brought me back to reality- I watched as a nurse in her white knee length coat, scarf on her head and flats, rushed into the room to checkup on them. I realized it’s not all tragedy after all- two bundle of sunshine had been brought into our lives. If only Julie were alive and Summer… What’s past is gone.
Making our way through the pavement as I and Sam left the hospital, he made the call to Julie’s parent. I had offered to, but he shrugged me off saying it was his job. Prior to the surgery, they had been informed about the possible outcomes- it still didn’t make dealing with the death any easier.
We got into the taxi. I sat at the extreme end from Sam in the backseat, giving him as much privacy as a taxi cab could offer; from my observation, he couldn’t care any less. I peered through the window, watching the streets as people were on their way to various destinations- anything to take my mind off Julie’s demise.
The sounds that had subsided from Sam came back. I took a glance at him; his cheeks were soaked, eyes closed, hands gripping his knees. The taxi cab, a stout Indian man with a Punjab red cap and long goat beard looked up through the front mirror and asked:
“Is everything okay madam?“
I took a long look this time at the pathetic condition my friend was, then I replied the taxi man with all the determination my heart could muster
“It will be”
I thought to myself- it had to be, if only for the sake of those beautiful baby girls.