masks and monitors. Stainless steel trays. Sterile sheet stretched
across a thin mattress covered in plastic. Among the stillness,
Bethany Lowe lay quiet, the sun glinting off the diamond solitaire
she'd worn for the past twenty-seven years.
doctor looked at Bethany. “The car that hit hers must've been going
at least eighty miles an hour.” He shook his head. “Time of
death: six forth-one. Internal trauma.”
shook her head. “You're wrong, Doctor. Bethany died years ago. She
died of a broken heart.”
Whyte. Bethany's fiance for twenty-eight years.”
doctor nodded and snapped off his gloves. He tossed them on the tray
and headed out the door, leaving Caroline to pick up the pieces of
jumped and turned. She'd forgotten about the college kid, Beryl
something. The kid was spending three weeks at the hospital. Some
community service thing.
day of her wedding...oh you should have seen her. She stood in the
church basement posing for the photographer just radiating happiness.
I was her maid of honor.”
kid nodded. Stared at Bethany.
wore her grandmother's dress and carried a bouquet of wildflowers.”
was late. We kept delaying the wedding. Ten minutes. Ten minutes
more. We thought Eric had gotten cold feet.” Caroline began picking
up tubes and sponges. “All of a sudden, the best man burst into the
basement. He told us that Eric had been hurt. That Bethany needed to
get to the hospital.”
happened to him?”
He'd been running late, as usual. Eric was late for everything. He
decided to take a shortcut and got caught up in some street fight.”
Caroline remembered how Bethany had dropped the bouquet on the floor.
“She ran up the basement stairs and out of the church into the
limo. She sat by his bedside for days, begging him to wake up,”
Caroline told the kid. “Every day, after school, Bethany would come
to the hospital to visit Eric.”
talked for hours, telling him all about the kids at her school and
what was happening in town. When she got tired of talking, she would
read to him. Eric loved mysteries.” Carolyn sighed. “Everyone
told her to let him go, but she refused.” Carolyn blinked and
walked to the window. Birds were scattered across the sky like stars.
God. To love someone so long.”
loved him longer,” Carolyn whispered.
introduced them. Eric and I were supposed to get engaged. Then I
introduced him to Bethany.” She heard a commotion from the hallway.
“What the hell's going on?”
nurse burst into the room. “Room 412 just woke up. He's asking for
to go see?” Caroline asked the kid.
waited for the kid to go before pulling the ring from Carolyn's
finger and slipping it into her pocket beside the syringe. She headed
down the hallway to room 412 and opened the door.
too late,” the kid said to Eric.
Carolyn replied. “I'm here.”
Labels: flash fiction, scriptic.org