A Promise to Keep
A young couple lay in bed together one night; nothing special about this night, just a regular week night; it’s Wednesday. The wife is 33 weeks pregnant and tired. She has to get up early for work in the morning. Her husband is resting his head on her round belly and talking to his unborn child. His wife wishes he would stop so she could go to sleep, but is equally touched by this tender moment, so she lets him continue. He keeps his hands on her belly and looks up at her. “I know we think it’s going to be a boy, but just in case it’s a girl, promise me you’ll name her Christina.”
“It’s a boy.”
“But still, seriously, I mean it; promise me!”
“What is up with you? We can make these decisions together, so don’t stress!”
“I’ve always thought that Christina is a pretty name, so if it’s a girl, that’s what I want her name to be, OK?”
“OK! But it IS a boy.”
“Buuuuuuut, if it’s not?”
“Right, OK, geeze! Stephanie it is. I promise, cross my heart.”
“See! Was that so hard? Thank you!”
She smiled as he kissed her once on the lips and again on her belly and then they went to sleep.
She was able to catch the bus and even got a bit of sleep on the 1/2 hour commute. When she got off at her stop, her mother was waiting at the front steps. She wasn’t overly close with her mother and the sight of her waiting at the place where she worked gave her a sudden and overwhelmingly sickening feeling in the pit of her stomach.
“Sweetheart, I need you to be calm.”
“What’s going on? Tell me now! Why do I need to be calm?”
“It’s your husband. His dad went to pick him up for work and found him in the bathroom... on the floor. He tried everything to revive him but...”
“OK. Did he have a seizure? He hasn't had one in forever, but still...what's the big deal?”
“Honey, he’s at the hospital now; they are waiting for you... but... darling... he didn’t make it.”
This piece is in memory of my father, who passed away 36 years ago. This is a true recollection of the night before and the morning of his passing, according to my mother. I was that baby girl and my mother kept her promise to him and named me Christina. I was born 6 weeks later, on what would have been his 25th birthday.
In the middle of the night, he awoke and went into the kitchen. He was usually a sound sleeper so when he left, it woke up his wife. She rolled out of bed and found him in the kitchen making a giant sized sandwich.
“What are you doing up? It’s 2am!”
“I have no idea! I woke up absolutely starving. I feel like I’m going on a long journey and I need to stock up.”
“A journey? What the hell does that mean?”
“Again, I have no idea. All I know is that I wanna eat this and then I’ll come back to bed; don’t wait up.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t.” And she went back to bed.
The alarm clock screamed in their ears for the fifth time on snooze rotation; they had over-slept. They frantically got ready in their tiny apartment, trying to make up time and constantly fumbled around each other. As usual, she was ready first and dashed out the front door to catch her bus. She had hobbled half way down the hallway of their apartment building when her goofy husband burst out their door and into the middle of the hallway wearing nothing but his underwear and his toothbrush hanging from his mouth. He took it out and waved it in the air like a wand while proclaiming, “Baby! Have a good day! I love ya, sweet cheeks!”
She rolled her eyes and laughed in both admiration and embarrassment, “Love you too... now for God’s sake, go put some clothes on!” She turned back to leave and get into the elevator; she could still hear her husband’s pathetic singing voice muffled off in the distance, “Llllooveeeee yoouuu!”