No worries or cares
Regrets and mistakes
They are memories made.
Who would have known how bittersweet this would taste?
A strange sensation seeped over me like viscous black oil. My heart shuddered and I dropped the copy of “Me Before You” I was re-shelving. I breathed deeply while thinking that extra cup of coffee had been a mistake. The clock read 3:28.
It was a slow day. The weather was fantastic: a perfect mesh of cool and sunny with the sky cerulean and cloudless.
My cell vibrated in my pocket. A text from Tina: call me.
I told Lucy I was taking a break and sat on a bench in front of orange zinnias. “What’s up?”
“There’s been a mass shooting.”
“That’s bad. Where this time?”
“It’s here, Clare, where Dominic works.”
I hung up and with shaky fingers hit speed dial. Straight to voicemail. My thumbs jabbed out a text and I waited.
His ringtone sounded. Relief poured over me and I smiled, imagining the twinkle in his eyes. “You’re okay?”
Tansy’s teary voice spoke. “Clare, get to Memorial. It’s really bad.”
In the car, I jabbed the button for all-news radio. Eight police officers shot. My body trembled. I tried to focus on driving, tried to be careful. So many stoplights. Each time I stopped, I heard Tansy’s quaking voice.
The emergency room was organized chaos. Tansy was talking to a paunchy man I recognized as their Lieutenant. She had blood on her gray T-shirt and jeans. If it hadn’t felt real before, it did now.
Please let him be alive.
Tansy saw me and hugged me. She started crying again and I felt my stomach drop. I was too late.
“He’s in surgery. He’s died once already.”
Seeing my pallor, she dragged me into the nearest bathroom, the men’s toilet, where I vomited everything from my stomach into a urinal.
“He’s tough. He’ll make it.”
I nodded and rinsed my mouth. She led me through doors to a waiting room of stiff chairs where we held vigil, desperately gripping each other’s hand.