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The Delivery That Saved My Life

by Sarah Aldrich 10 months ago in Short Story

Even after she lost everything it turns out there was something left to live for.

The Delivery That Saved My Life
Photo by jesse ramirez on Unsplash

The knock on my door startled me. No one ever came around anymore. I don’t even remember the last time I had a visitor. I wondered briefly why, whoever it was, hadn’t used the door bell. Then I remembered I’d disconnected it months ago. That was back when people still came by. When I didn’t answer the ringing, they’d taken to talking to my doorbell camera. They wanted me to know they had come by and that I wasn’t alone. The truth was they wanted me to move on. They wanted me to be ok so they could feel better about themselves. Well, I’m not ok and probably won’t ever be again but I ignored them all long enough that they gave themselves permission to give up on me. There was another, louder knock on the door reminding me why I was thinking about them in the first place. “Mrs. Crow?” The sound of my last name, of the Mrs. in front of it nearly look my legs out from under me. Who was out there? Who would be so mean as to use that name? “Mrs. Crow it’s your mail person.” The female voice called. “Your mailbox was full and I have a package that wouldn’t fit.” There was a pause, she would go away, they always did. “Mrs. Crow if you don’t open the door, I’ll have to call the police for a wellness check. You haven’t brought in your mail in more than 2 weeks and I’m worried.” Two weeks? Had it really been that long? I thought I had been better at sneaking out in the middle of the night to get the mail. A few more hard knocks on the door. “OK, I’m going back to my truck and calling 911.” Shit! No, I didn’t need that drama! I got up and moved to the door. I opened it just as she climbed back in her truck. She looked back at the house and our eyes met. In that moment I knew that I must have looked like how I felt, dead. She waved at me, trying to recover herself I think, but I couldn’t wave back. I just bent down and picked up the mail from the front porch. I dropped it all on the couch and pushed the door shut. I moved back into my house. The shades were all drawn so the sunny day couldn’t get in. The lights were off, and there was a slight, dusty haze in the air. The tiny voice in my head told me that this was no way to live, I should clean and take out the trash and open the windows and get back to my life but that voice was too tiny to be heard. I collapsed back onto the couch, pulled the blanket over myself and closed my eyes. I didn’t fall asleep though, I almost never did, I just lay there, eyes closed and remembered.

It was October of 2017, the day we closed on the house. I was sitting on the counter with happy tears in my eyes as I let it sink in that this was all mine. No, not mine, ours. Then he was there. Standing in front of me. He pushed my knees apart and moved between them, wrapping his arms around my waste and squeezing me tight. I breathed him in. The feel of him, the smell of him. My arms snaked around his neck and we kissed. The memory consumed me. It broke my heart and brought me peace. He had died two months ago and I still couldn’t take a deep breath. My memories changed to that night. The late-night phone call that wasn’t from him. The instructions to get to the hospital as soon as I could. The tense scary drive into the city wondering if I would be too late. The grim faces of the men he had called brother for all these years. Being married to a firefighter you think you are prepared for the worst but the reality is so much worse than you expect. I tried to pull myself out of the memory. I couldn’t go down this road again. As it always did the thought of watching him take his last breath brought me to tears but I couldn’t cry, I was out of tears. I had to stop the bad memories before they took me over again. I tried to reach for one of the good ones but nothing worked. Not even the memory of our wedding day was enough to save me. “I have a package for you.” The mailwoman’s words broke through my thoughts as if she was standing in my living room. My eyes flew open but no, I was alone. Then I saw it, the stack of mail, most of it junk I was sure, and a brown paper wrapped package sitting on top. Desperate for the distraction I pulled myself up and moved to where I had abandoned the mail.

I ignored the letters and looked at the package. The wrapping was just a plain brown paper and the handwriting on the outside didn’t look familiar. I stared at it for a long time trying to think of who in my life would send me something. Maybe it was a trick, something to get me to reengage. That tiny voice in my head told me I should. It said I needed to stop hiding. Maybe it was the distraction of the mysterious package but this time the voice was a little louder. I shook my head. With a sigh I started to rip the paper off the box. This was a terrible idea. When the paper was gone, the pictures on the box showed a snow globe with a frame in the middle. Who would send this to me? There was no receipt so it didn’t come from a store. Then it hit me, who ever had sent this probably put a picture in the globe before they sent it. I started shaking my head. If there was a picture of me and my husband in this stupid snow globe, I would end up throwing it against the wall! Who would be so callous? It’s not like I don’t have pictures of us all over this house. Why would you send me something to torture me like this!

I was just going to throw it away. The last thing I needed was a mess to clean up when the stupid thing shattered against a wall. I started to turn towards the kitchen but then stopped. Why would someone send this to me? It doesn’t make sense. I pulled the top of the box open and looked in. Sure enough there was a snow globe inside but there was also a note. I pulled the note out. The handwriting was his and suddenly I couldn’t breathe again. How was I getting a gift from him? I read the note. “Hi baby! I’m so excited for the next chapter in our lives. I love you and our little blueberry more than I can say! Hope you enjoy this snow globe! Love Always, Mike” I stared at the note confused. The voice in my head was louder now telling me to look at the globe. I carefully reached in and pulled it from the box and my heart stopped. Inside the globe the black and white picture of nothing and everything could be seen from all angles. It was my ultrasound. I dropped the empty box and my hand fell to my belly. Where I had expected to feel flat stomach there was instead a rounded bump. This time my legs did give out and I fell to the floor staring at the image in the snow globe. I was pregnant! I was pregnant with his baby. I tried to focus, how far along was I? “Oh my God!” My voice cracked as I said the words out loud. I was 5 months pregnant! This ultrasound had been taken just days before he died! I sat there on the floor with my hand on my rounded belly and remembered. I realized the tiny voice in my head had been the one trying to tell me to take care of myself not for my sake but for the sake of our child. The friends and family who had so wanted me to be ok had been the ones who had known about the baby. It all made sense now. Why had I blocked it out? How had I not realized my body was changing? I know the human mind is a strange and powerful thing but this seemed crazy. That’s it, I had been crazy! I needed help, I needed to make sure me and the baby were ok! I stood up as quickly as I could and moved towards my cell phone. Damn, it was dead! I plugged it in and then turn towards the land line. I grabbed the phone and dialed my parents’ number. When had I spoken to them last? It had been at least a month since they had been here. I cleared my throat hoping I would be able to speak when they answered. Then my mom’s voice was on the other end of the line. “Hello.” I couldn’t speak. I hadn’t talked to her in so long. I had frozen her out. What could I say? “Hello?” She would hang up if I didn’t say something!

“Momma?” I barely squeaked out.

“Chrissy? Baby is that you?” My mother’s words came out in a rush. “Honey, I’m so happy to hear your voice. Are you ok?” I heard shuffling and knew she was probably waving my father over to listen.

“I’m pregnant.” It was all I could think of to say.

There was a long pause. “I know. I’m just glad you finally remembered too.”

I was crying now. I guess I did have more tears left. “He’s dead! Mike’s dead and I can’t do this without him!” As the words left my mouth, I realized that was why I had been in denial about the pregnancy. I didn’t want to do this alone.

“Baby take a deep breath.” My father’s voice was deep and calm and it helped. “Your mother and I will be to you in 20 minutes. Just get a drink of water and sit down. You aren’t alone. You and that baby have so many people who have just been waiting for you to let us come help you. Take a breath, we’ll be there soon.” There was silence for a minute. “Your mother is standing at the door with her purse. Tell me you heard me so I can hang up and drive her to you.”

Despite everything I smiled a little. If I didn’t say something he wouldn’t hang up and if he didn’t get off the phone soon, she would leave without him. I really did have the best parents in the world. “I heard you dad.” I squeaked out between sobs. “I’m sitting down, I’ll be ok until you get here.”

He told me they loved me and hung up the phone. I knew that in less than half an hour I would be sitting between the two people who loved me more than anything. I knew my mom would clean for me and my dad would cook and they would open the windows and make me doctor’s appointments and that eventually everything would be ok. I also knew that Mike, with that cheesy little gift, had saved my life today. My dad was right, I wasn’t alone. I had friends and family and in-laws who wanted nothing more than to be in my life, in this baby’s life. More than that though I had my Mike looking out for both of us. I would never be completely whole again but for now that was enough.

Short Story

About the author

Sarah Aldrich

I'm just a horse girl, turned law enforcement officer, who likes to write. I'd love to live the dream and write full time, wouldn't we all, but for now I'll just share my stories with like minded people here!

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