Monday, February 27, 2012

Pronounced Dead

Stevie woke herself up crying. It was barely light outside, so she tried to go back to sleep. It was no use. Vivid images from a dream about Dougie were burned into her consciousness. Rarely a month went by that Stevie didn't dream about her firstborn child. No matter what else was portrayed, her dreams always concluded with the scene in the emergency room at the hospital: A limp, seventeen-year-old body stripped to the waist, pasty white tinged with blue; ER staff dejectedly backing away from the table after a frantic but futile attempt at resuscitation; lifesaving appliances still attached but useless.

As during the real event almost three years earlier, in her dreams Stevie struggled to reach Dougie's side. If she could just touch him gently and kiss him on the forehead, he would awaken for her as he had so many mornings of his brief life. But Stevie had been restrained in near hysteria outside the ER on that dark day. In her dream again this morning, she could not reach her son. The doctor's solemn announcement always stirred her awake: "We did everything we could. I'm sorry."

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