48 Hours That Just Kept Going

She said that her stomach hurt and asked me if I wanted the glass of wine that she was one sip into. It seemed like a trick question so I declined. If she was coming down with something no amount of fermented grapes made it worth catching. She went to bed and moaned a bit.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“I have a doctor’s appointment in the morning,” she said. “If it still hurts I’ll let him know.”

She got up, went to work, and when it was time she went to her appointment. Then she went to the hospital.

After the surgery I sat by her side until she was deep in sleep, then I turned off the light above her bed, and I left.

The morning of her appointment she had mentioned that her stomach still hurt. I didn’t give it much thought. I was making breakfast, packing lunches, getting the kids ready, and promising Zane, repeatedly, that I wouldn’t miss his classroom concert for anything. Then we all piled into the car and drove through the morning mist.

The first one to be dropped off was my wife.

“I’ll come back and get you in time for your appointment,” I told her.

Then I drove the boys to school and went in Zane’s room for a kindergarten performance full of cuteness and moments all too sweet. It ended, we hugged, and he gave me a necklace that he had made out of bright green string and beads every color of the rainbow.

“Keep it on all day,” he said.

I sat in the parking lot for an hour answering emails and trying to get some work done.

“I haven’t even gone in yet,” she text me. Her appointment should have been over by that time. I drove home, worked, and managed to meet a deadline.

“I need to go to the hospital,” she text me an hour later. So we went. We waited for doctors, forms, and the suggested CT scan. The wait was going to be long, so I left her there with her pain and her iPhone.

A friend had picked the boys up from school and I drove back across a chunk of Los Angeles to get them. They had a birthday party to go to, and I stopped at Trader Joe’s to grab something to walk in with. I felt naked showing up with nothing but stress and a necklace.

There was a woman in front of me in the parking lot. She slammed on her brakes and started backing toward me. I was pinned in. I rolled back as much as I could. She rolled down her window.

“What the hell, you asshole!” she yelled. She started to yell a little bit more.

“Shut the fuck up, lady,” I responded. Then I parked the car and forgot about her.

I met the boys at the party. One got stung by a bee. The other bumped his head. The former got hit in the eye by the pinata. It left a mark like a knuckle. Their friend fell in the grass and broke his arm. My wife text and said it was appendicitis. I left the boys with another friend and drove back across a chunk of Los Angeles to find my wife watching the last five minutes of the Kings game. They won.

Surgery.

Waiting.

The doctor came in and said she was fine. And then we sat there until she fell asleep and I drove home with the bar crowd.

My dinner was a Jumbo Jack sans meat and a big glass of whiskey.

The next day was the last of the school year. I explained an appendectomy to the boys as they changed their clothes in the car, washed their faces in a bagel shop, and brushed their teeth in the nurse’s office. Then class. Then hugs. Goodbyes.

They met their mother in front of the hospital. She was sore, tired, and ready to go home. They were restless and ready for summer.

She said she liked my necklace.

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