Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Chapter 40 - The Future

December 28, 1948

The snow was a wet mess now. Today’s sunshine had caused streams of water to run down the sides of the road. Solomon stepped over it and walked up the path to the cabin. He was carrying a vase of white roses with baby’s breath. A white satin ribbon was tied around the vase. On the front porch, he heard Jerry’s voice. “I can’t believe my brother dares to suggest that you should come home now!” He sounded angry.

Solomon walked into the kitchen. Both Jerry and Becky turned to look at him.

“Oh, how beautiful,” Becky said cupping a rose with her palm and pulling it to her nose.

“I thought we could put them on the Pure One’s grave,” he said. He looked at Jerry and asked, “What were you talking about? What does your brother want?”

“My parents want me to come home.” Becky sounded exasperated.

Solomon put his arms around her and hugged her. “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do,” he said, “anyway, Jerry and I would be too sad if you left.”

She sighed and buried her face in his chest. “Thank you,” she said. Solomon knew that grief, postpartum depression, and the pregnancy hormones left over in her system were clouding her ability to deal with her parents’ insensitivity.

Jerry brought two cups of spiced cider to them. “Have you had any repercussions at the clinic or your office about the incident with Roxanne Dover?” he asked.

“Yeah, the word is out,” he said. “A diabetic came in for healing, and a man from across the highway brought his mother for me to heal her heart failure.”

“Well, did you heal them?” Jerry asked with a twinkle in his eye.

Solomon smiled, “I told them that the rumors of my healing powers had been highly exaggerated. I told the diabetic to go easy on his carbohydrates. I gave the lady with heart failure some digitalis and told her to go easy on the salt. By the way, Becky, the digitalis was from that foxglove plant you helped Ma with a few weeks ago.”

“That’s good to hear,” she said.

“I’ll have to weigh the situations one at a time,” Solomon said. “I have one mother whose history makes me think she’ll need a cesarean. I told her to go to the hospital in Knoxville, but she thinks I can give her a miracle birth. Her family agrees with her.”

“Could she die?” Jerry asked.

“I don’t think it will come to that,” Solomon said wiping up cider he’d spilled on the floor. “Maybe her delivery will be uncomplicated,” he said. “If not, I’ll do a symphysiotomy.”

“Pardon my ignorance,” Jerry said, “but what’s that?”

Solomon explained, “The pubic bone has a joint in the middle. I can surgically cut the cartilage in that joint, which will widen the birth canal.”

“You are amazing,” Becky said smiling.

“I’m not amazing,” Solomon laughed, “that procedure is older than dirt.”

He touched Becky’s hand and said, “Let’s take the flowers up the hill to our son’s grave.”

Becky smiled that he’d referred to her child as “our son.”

Solomon sank the vase into the melting snow and braced it with quartz stones. He stood up and put his arms around Becky. “I love you,” he said.

“I know, Solomon, and I love you too.”

Solomon kissed her and held her in his arms. “You’ve made me happier than I can ever tell you. Those are the sweetest words I’ve ever heard.”

Still holding her hands, he stepped back and said, “Symbolically, we’re here in the presence of our first son. He has always been a part of our life together, and he will continue to be part of our lives from now until eternity.” Solomon dropped to one knee and continued, “Becky, will you marry me?”

Becky smiled and pulled him to his feet. “Yes, my sweet Solomon, I will marry you.”

Solomon left for work before Jerry, Becky, or the woodpecker woke up. He was too excited to sleep. He wanted to tell Ma about the wedding plans.

Becky woke a little later thinking the same. She wanted to tell Jerry the good news.

Jerry said, “Girl, that’s the best news I’ve heard in a long time. Tell me all about it.”

“There’s so much we still have to decide,” she said. “We plan to marry in the spring. Solomon thinks it would be easiest...considering his work...for us to live with Ma until next September. That’s when he starts to school in Knoxville. Then we’ll find an apartment in Knoxville.” Becky was pacing and flourishing her arms. “I’ll finish my teaching degree at the university at the same time. And when Solomon finishes medical school, we’ll settle here in Rooster Cove.” She put her hands to her cheeks, “Oh, Uncle Jerry, I’m so excited!”

The scene was repeated between Solomon and Ma Patsy.

Unknown to Solomon and Ma...a long line of patients was forming outside. The line was quiet in the early morning. Wheelchairs mired up in the melting snow beside the road. A mother held her coughing baby under her coat. Several men smoking cigarettes huddled and recalled last Christmas when Solomon brought that frozen boy back to life. The line undulated several hundred yards down Rooster Cove Road. Expectant eyes... hopeful eyes waited for Solomon to open the front door.

Copyright © 2008 by Robbin Renee Bridges
Coping with Grief through Afterlife Communication

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