One Sunday Morning

The sun rose and peeked through the sheer curtains. Rose’s alarm shrieked. The loud bells caused her phone to jump on the side table. It was time for her to get ready for church. Blindly reaching for her phone, she shut the alarm off and pulled at the covers providing her a cocoon of warmth and tossed them to the side. She swept her bare feet across the bed to touch the cool wooden floor.

Rose softly tiptoed to the corner of the bedroom to grab her clothes dangling on the arm of the bedroom chair. Scooping all of the items of her chosen outfit, she headed to the bathroom hoping that she wouldn’t drop anything.

Round, piercing blue eyes stared back at her in the bathroom mirror. Rose fingered the wrinkles forming around her eyes. So many of them bore signs of laughter and smiling. Slowly dropping her hands, she couldn’t remember the last time she laughed in her home with Tom. Shaking her head as if to erase the negative thoughts, she reached for her makeup bag and went through her regular routine.

Applying her favorite deep rose lipstick, Rose headed downstairs to make her coffee and bagel to take with her to church. The smell of dark-roast coffee swirled in the air as Rose sliced her cinnamon raisin bagel. Hearing the Keurig sputter with the fresh brew, Rose found the interruption of the stillness comforting. The toaster signaled that her bagel was done with a soft pop. It had a delicious golden brown color. Placing the bagel on the counter, she generously spread honey nut flavored cream cheese across both halves. Gathering her bible, notebook, and pens from the side table on the porch she stuffed them into her purse. Purse hanging on her right shoulder she juggled her coffee and bagel in both of her hands as she headed to the garage.

Tom awoke to the sound of the garage door creaking open. He turned to the side and glanced at his phone. Man, it was only 8:30 on a Sunday morning! After pushing his phone to the side, he rolled over to see that Rose’s side of the bed was empty. “What was the woman up to?”

He shuffled to the bedroom window and sent the soft maroon curtains careening to the left and right. His eyes squinted in the new morning sun to see Rose pulling out of the garage in their sedan. An irritation, much like a bug incessantly buzzing around the ear, started to build as Tom’s eyes followed the license plate to their car fading away.

Pulling on his robe and donning his slippers he made his way down to his leather recliner. Switching the T.V. on to ESPN, he watched the highlight reel over the last couple days of dunks, goals, and homeruns.

The home phone blared. Interrupting one of the top plays of the year. Tom grappled to grab the phone before it went to the answering machine.

Hello?!” Tom’s voice was curt.

A man’s gruff voice traveled across the phone line. “Hello sir, are you the husband of Rose Cartmen?”

Tom sharply inhaled. “Yes, to whom am I speaking?”

The man’s voice was laced with authority.  “I’m police officer Grant. I’m calling to tell you that your wife was involved in a head on collision. We need you to come now. The accident was on Jefferson Avenue across from the train station. Do you know where that is?”

Tom’s heart pounded rapidly. His mind was in shock. This can’t be happening. His voice cracked as he answered the police officer. “Yes, I am on my way.”

Running towards the stairs, Tom took the steps two by two. It all happened in a blur as he found himself wrenching the handle of the driver’s side door to his sports car. All he could think was that Rose was dead. His mind kept whispering. “She can’t be….She can’t be.”

Tom’s sports car came to a screeching halt on the corner of Jefferson Avenue. He got out and started running blindly, pushing past people as he neared the scene. He ignored the constant whispering and looks of fear.

He saw the sedan flipped on its side. The driver’s side was caved in, the wheel hanging in a disfigured fashion. The current condition of the car completely changed from this morning. Tom stopped running and sharply started breathing in and out. His eyes scanned the perimeter looking for Rose’s auburn hair, her slender build, anything that looked similar to her.

After a couple of seconds, he spotted the stretcher with Rose fastened securely to the board. He  quickly walked toward it. He felt his heart beat faster. His eyes stung from oncoming tears. Her hair was matted to the right side of her head as dried blood covered the initial wound.

Mr. Cartmen?” A voice that seemed to float on the air reached his ear.

“Yes?” Tom answered in a shaky tone.

The EMT’s voice was calm and steady. “Your wife has encountered quite a few injuries. She has endured a blunt force trauma to the head by the window and her right arm is broken. It seems it was stuck between the armrest and she couldn’t get it out in time. We are transferring her to the ICU in Olathe where she can be better treated and closely monitored. Would you like to ride in the ambulance with us?”

Tom couldn’t believe he was having this conversation right now. This wasn’t possible. He knew fear was in his eyes. He looked at the EMT. “Please take me with you.”
The medical team, the EMT, and Tom all jumped into the ambulance. Heading west to Olathe Medical Hospital, Tom looked up at the roof of the car begging someone, anyone to save his wife.


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