May 1 is quickly approaching and I am so excited to finally share this story with you!
The Wayward Wife is a fast paced peek into the mind of a woman who’s commitment, and need for love the way one man has given it to her, are at war.
Here’s an excerpt:
Jon called leaving me a frantic message: “Neene! I have been calling you for over half an hour! The office said you are gone on Wednesday afternoons for at least two hours and they couldn’t reach you. This is my fifth call… Come to University Hospital as soon as you get this message. JD’s been in a terrible accident.” He whispered the last sentence as if saying it any louder would make it more real.
I was in the gym’s shower when he called, removing traces of lust, getting my head together to return to the land of the righteous. When I heard what’d happened to my son, shame overwhelmed me. By the time arrived at the emergency room, there was no time to wallow in my humiliation. The stark walls and piney disinfectant blinded my senses; numbness washed over me. I was underwater; seeing nurses’ lips moving, but sound escaped me. I watched those white-coated messengers of doom come toward me, but the last thing I remember was the nightmare of Robert’s face, then darkness…
I awoke from my dead faint with a nurse waking me, syringe in hand. I read her nametag and asked perplexed, “Ms. Marjorie, what is going on here?”
“Oh – Great! You are back with us. I can understand your being overwhelmed… How are you feeling now? Would you like something to drink?” She asked as she sat the syringe down on the table next to the bed and poured me a little paper cup of orange juice from a small white plastic container.
“I don’t know… I mean… No. Did I just faint?” I asked, my eyes wide. I could feel my brows scrunch up.
“Yes…” She stated as she took out a penlight and shined it into my eyes.
“I checked your vitals and everything seems okay, so I was getting ready to take a small blood sample while you slept. We usually don’t do that, but we are desperate.” She continued slowly, looking me over and checking my vitals again.
“What? Desperate for my blood? Why?” I inquired while simultaneously trying to wrap my head around the scene that lay before me. Jon looked concerned and Robert was just staring at me, his thick eyebrows furrowed intensely. The room seemed void of the usual hospital staff, doctors and nurses buzzing about, which was strange and surreal. Jarringly, Nurse Marjorie broke into my thoughts of why that was, while I sipped from my paper cup becoming more alarmed by the second.
“Mrs. Dupont, your son needs multiple transfusions that will surpass our supply of his blood type by tomorrow, so we need to take some blood for testing. We are taking blood from your husband, you, as well as Mr. Matthews who so graciously volunteered to donate,” she said almost too happily. ‘God help me! Am I tripping? It’s probably me; let me calm my nerves.’ I said silently.
“It will take at least 24 hours or so for us to know who matches, but we will use what reserves we have of his blood type in the meantime,” Nurse Marjorie said with a smile.
“Of course. Thank you so very much,” I said tersely, wondering what “Miss A Little Too Happy” could expose with this whole blood work scenario. All my business could be in the street in a matter of hours. I turned to face my husband and Robert, trying to gain my composure, failing completely.
“Well, R-R-Robert, H-Hi, umm… How have you been?” I stuttered thinking back to my dead faint at seeing his face. Maybe Robert felt like we all were such good friends at one time, it was only right for him to assist us in our time of need, but knowing his ass, probably not.
“I’ve been fine, Neene. Your son is a beautiful kid. I know he plays sports?” Robert said with a grin in his voice.
“Yes, JD plays basketball.” I wanted to add, Just like Jon, but instead smiled to mask my sarcastic tone. ‘Where was he going with all this?’ I thought to myself.
“Neene, I had just met up with Robert when I got the call, so he came along to support me. I was a wreck, so he drove,” Jon said, trying to stop the drama he could see coming. He thought I didn’t like Robert because of his reputation back when we were younger, if he only knew.
“I can understand why. It was hard for me to drive here alone myself…” I started shaking my head and thinking back to my journey to the hospital, tears filling my voice. “…Vision so blurry from crying, had to pull over and call Mishie… Told her JD was in a car crash, we cried, and then we prayed for the best together. That got me back on the road. Lord! I feel so horrible for not answering my phone!” I began sobbing uncontrollably.
“It’s okay baby, come here; it’s okay. You’re here now,” Jon said as he pulled me close to him and brushed my hairline with his mouth. “I was getting paranoid thinking maybe you had been in an accident yourself! I was so glad when you got here in one piece, but you scared the crap out of me with your fainting like that! Are you alright?”
“Yes, honey. I think I’m just drained from that workout and then the trauma of hearing about JD. Have you seen him? Is he awake yet?” I asked quickly hopping up off the gurney and reaching for Jon leading him towards Jon Jr.’s room.
“I looked in on him, but he’s not awake yet,” Jon said, stopping me just outside the room. “Baby, he is in an induced coma… Because of the loss of his foot,” he said quietly into the top of my head.
“What?” I allowed tears to flow down my face unchecked as Jon pulled me close allowing my sobs to drench his baby-blue button down. Rubbing my back and murmuring softly, he held me letting the torrent pass. All I could think about was JD’s dreams of NBA super stardom horribly destroyed.
“I think… I’m going to go ahead and leave now,” Robert said clearly uncomfortable. “Okay, Jon?”
“Sure,” Jon stated over my head. “Don’t forget that we need to meet next week, aight?”
“Got it man. Don’t hesitate to call me if you need me anytime, day or night. Neene, I pray everything works out for your son babe.”
“Thank you for offering to donate blood for Jon Jr., Robert. Hopefully, his recovery will be swift and we will all be able to go out to dinner and talk about better times,” I said quietly without moving my face from Jon’s chest. It was safe there.
Jon and I turned to go into JD’s room to talk to the doctors assembled there to find out what our next steps would be. Walking into the room, I instantly felt claustrophobic, there were three doctors crowded around his bed, one examining his leg, another perusing his chart and yet another watching us walk into the room. One started to speak, but I was completely oblivious.
“Jon’s progress is great at this time. We are sure that he will recover nicely and we have the best rehabilitation specialist in Atlanta, Kirk Jones, lined up for him upon his release in a few weeks,” the doctor who was watching us started hurriedly. I guess she could see the shock on my face, but didn’t know I mentally checked out; I didn’t hear a word she said.
I was focused on my beautiful boy; he lay there, scratches and cuts from pulverized glass imbedded into his smooth café au lait face. His barely out of adolescence build, tall and gangly just like my dad at his age, seemed wrong without the other size 11 foot resting near the one he still had. Right arm in a cast and his face swollen, I wanted to rush to his side, rub his curly ‘fro and tell him it would be all right like I’d done when he was a toddler. But aside from the assemblage at his bedside blocking my approach, I knew that things would never be the same. I snapped back from my internal thoughts, blinking and trying to focus, realizing that the doctors were telling Jon and I about JD’s condition and release.
“My name is Dr. Kennedy and I am the orthopedic surgeon who is working with your son. I understand this is a trying time Mrs. Dupont, but I need you to understand what is going on so that you can care for your son upon his release,” she stated while touching my arm and looking directly into my face to make sure she had my attention. I was still staring at JD out of the corner of my eye, but this time I heard every word.
“I’m listening doctor,” I whispered.
“Good.” She stated staring directly into my eyes and maintaining eye contact. “He is going to wake up out of the induced coma sometime tomorrow and we want you guys to be the first faces he sees. Do you have other children?”
“Yes,” we said simultaneously.
“Well… Can there be some arrangements made for their care while you two hold vigil at his bedside?
“Their Godfather is going to pick up Amber and take her home with him. She should be fine there with her God-sister and brother.”
“Great. That will give you some time to focus on your son, for a little while at least. He is going to need you guys to get him through this. I have seen cases where the person who loses a limb or extremity falls into a deep depression and never recovers so we are going to try to bypass that by having you both here, showing him that you support and love him unconditionally. What do you think?”
“We are committed to doing whatever it takes to make sure our son does not feel like he is less than who he was before this accident,” Jon said emphatically.
“I would also suggest that none of his friends from school come to the hospital at this time unless he specifically requests them and he really wants to see them. Jon is a senior right?”
“Yes, he is.” I replied, while Jon said, “Okay,” simultaneously.
The doctor smiled at us and said, “Folks, I know this is a lot to take in all at once… We will make sure that Jon not only gets the best care available, but that we support you both in any way we can. If you need it, the chapel is on the third floor and a chaplain is on duty if you need him from 6 AM to 8 PM.”
“Thanks doctor. We’ll head there a lil later.”
We decided to spend the night in the hospital and Jon would take the first shift while I ran home, got some clothing for us for a few days, checked on Amber and got us some food from his favorite soul food spot. When I returned, I saw Jon at JD’s bedside, grimacing in his sleep from the weight of the world on his shoulders. I just watched him for a moment while I silently prayed that all I have done in the past 18 years wouldn’t come crashing down around us both.
“Jon, honey… Want something to eat?” I said as I gently touched his shoulder.
Jon jerked like he had been electrocuted, but when he saw the startled look on my face said, “Oh! Damn baby… Didn’t mean to scare you. I was having a bad dream, but now that I am awake, I see it wasn’t a dream. Man… Baby, I know JD wasn’t driving distracted and he was by himself, so I’m just wondering how he could have run the light and gotten hit by that truck! He’s such a great driver.”
“I don’t get it either Jon. Where did the accident happen?”
“It happened somewhere near Prime Town Center. The doctor said it was sometime between noon and one o’clock this afternoon.”
“What was he doing down there at that time? He should have been in school, right? I know today wasn’t a half day – was it? Did he have his internship interview today?” I asked. Something didn’t add up, not only was I down there at that same exact time, I knew for sure that he didn’t have a half-day.
“We can figure out all of that later. Right now, let’s pray over our son.”
“You are so right, honey.” I acquiesced immediately loving how much my husband loved God and knew what to do at this time. God knew I needed a private conference with Him right then, but I would have to keep that to myself.
We took each other’s hands, bowed our heads and Jon began to pray, “Father God, we come to you this evening saying thank you. Thank you for things being as well as they are right now God because this could have gone another way today God and we would be making arrangements instead looking into our son’s face. We come now Father, in need of your mighty hand to touch our son. Father, touch his spirit, touch his mind, and guide the doctor’s hands so that they can heal him in Your way Jehovah Raffa, which is a complete healing that only you can provide. God we come humbly through Your son Christ…”
As he prayed, I went over the day in my head, wondering how it could all have gone so wrong. While he prayed for our son’s swift recovery, I prayed that my scandalous behavior hadn’t culminated in my son’s demise.
Jon finished praying and noticing the tears on my face, he wiped them saying, “Honey, don’t worry. Whatever lies ahead, we can face it and overcome it, together.”
Inside, I cringed. I just hoped that he would find it in his heart to forgive me if the need arose. God knows I have forgiven him for enough. We spent the night on that rickety hospital issued cot, spooned together, feeling like survivors of the Titanic; clinging to each other for safety and sanity’s sake.
The next morning we awoke and went to the hospital cafe for breakfast. When we returned with our coffee, Lil’ Miss Happy – Nurse Marjorie greeted us.
“Good Morning, Mrs. Dupont. Mr. Dupont,” Nurse Marjorie nodded towards Jon, slowly walked close to me then furtively asked, “Do you know your blood type Mrs. Dupont?”
“Yes, My blood type is B negative. We donate blood to the Red Cross at my job twice a year,” I said a little put off by how close she had gotten to me.
“B negative? Are you sure? I only ask because your husband’s blood type is AB, which doesn’t match with your son’s blood type, which is 0 positive. I thought perhaps we had made a mistake with processing…” her rambling trailed off.
It felt like the air was sucked out of the room. I looked around rapidly, eyes bouncing off the walls, avoiding Jon’s at all costs while blinking back tears that I hoped they thought were circumstantial.
Meanwhile, a perturbed Nurse Marjorie tried to take the blame, stating, “We tend rush with ICU cases and things get mixed up, so let’s not…” but couldn’t downplay the meaning of this new fact. Neither of us matched.
That’s it writers and readers! The Prologue of The Wayward Wife for your reading enjoyment…
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Keep writing (and reading!),
The Write Way Faye