Say Goodnight

By: Sqweakie the Wonder Mouse

AN: It was kinda a bad day at work, a sad day. I just had to get this out of my system…

They had called my name. I was sitting in the waiting room, people all around me. Kids played at a table in the corner of the room by the TV. The nurse had asked if I wanted to sit in a private room while I waited. I told her that I was ok here. I needed to be around people. Even in the bathroom the quiet almost made me lose it. I rushed back to the cacophony of the waiting room. It was loud and crowded and I was able to pretend that the reason I was sitting here was a normal one.

The waiting room was small but it was just the right size for a small hospital. Just a stop on the highway that we passed dozens of times running to our different families' houses and sports events. We sometimes would stop here to eat breakfast at the truck stop where the five of us would line up at the counter to order and talk with the other patrons.

Today it was just me. Thankfully it was just me. The kids were at Tucker's house. God, how was I going to tell them? Joe was only four, the twins were older but how was I going to explain.

The nurse called my name again but I sat there panicking silently. She finally walked over and gently shook my shoulder. My gaze met hers and I saw the sympathy there. Understanding what she wanted, I got out of the chair and followed her through the doors to the nurses' station. It was quieter back here, only a couple of rooms had people and those doors were slid shut.

There were forms to sign and words of condolence given. The tears made it hard to see sometimes but I knew that it was time to be brave. Halfway through the donor's paperwork I blurted out, "Can I see him?"

The nurse jumped. She hadn't been expecting me to talk. I said only what was necessary up to that point. She looked at my face and then looked over at the doctor. He had just walked out of a room and had heard my request. He was a nice man, too young but good at his job. He was very nice to me when I first came in. The nurse said I was in shock, that's why I was so calm.

The doctor came over to me, saying I would be able to go in a couple of minutes. They were taking x-rays right now. One of the paramedics came over, appearing from wherever they come from. He led me to an empty room and he stayed with me. A county sheriff found me in thereand started to ask the necessary questions he needed for his report. I answered him in order, 'No, my husband hadn't been drinking. No drugs or medicine either. He had been healthy until today, just the occasional cold during the winter.' It was a needed distraction that was over far too soon. The officer nodded and left, quietly shutting the door.

Not long after that the door opened again. The nurse I had been talking to said that they were ready. I stood too quickly, wobbling on unsteady legs. The paramedic took hold of my arm and together we walked out the door. Farther down the hall were a set of double doors but we stopped at the room just to the left. The door was open but a curtain had been pulled, hiding everything inside.

The paramedic pulled the curtain inside and leaded me into the room. It was a mess, a testament to the work that was done for the sake of one soul. But in the center of the room was a cart, sheet draw up. I notice that the blanket wasn't long enough; his feet stuck out the end. The brown boots were worn and so familiar.

The paramedic let go of my arm as I drifted towards the head of the cart. I pulled the blanket off his face, finding strength from within. It hurt looking at him. Blood had covered most of his face, his nose broken. There was a tube in his mouth, an ET Tube my limited knowledge from medical shows provided me. He almost looked like he was asleep. But he didn't move. His chest was still and the only sounds came from me and my escort.

This wasn't supposed to happen. We had just gotten that van. We just left the damn dealership. He wanted me to follow him in our old car incase something happened. The van wasn't new but it was just we needed. A month earlier I found out I was pregnant with our fourth child and we needed something bigger to haul everyone around in.

So we were on the highway, my car farther back but I was able to see the van. I saw it happen, saw the other car cross the centerline. I wanted to yell, to curse someone for his death. I wanted to blame the other driver so much but I could hear crying from the other room. The other driver didn't make it. They were both dead.

I brushed back his messy hair. I could almost recognize the relaxed face under the blood and horror. I gently kissed his forehead where there was no blood. Pulling away I gave him a small smile. It was a broken smile that didn't stop the tears trailing down my face. I didn't even know how to say goodbye.

So I didn't.

The paramedic came to my side as I leaned in for one last kiss as whispered, "Goodnight, Danny. I love you."

It was a promise we made to each other, never saying goodbye. Goodbye was too final.

The man next to me gently reached over and drew the sheet up over my husband's head. Then we left together. I made it out of the room before I collapsed against the paramedic. It took him and another person to carry me to an empty room. They laid me down on the cart as a nurse came in. They checked me over and finally decided it was ok to leave me alone to rest for a little while. A friend was coming to pick me up and they decided it was safer for me to stay there until he arrived.

I was alone when I heard him speak. My name echoed through my room and I sat up but the room is empty. No one was there. I laid back down, turning on my side. I closed my eyes and before I fell asleep I heard my Danny say,

"I love you, Sam. Goodnight."