Blindsided (part 16)

“What was that about?” Jack asks, taking the card from my hand. “Some secret eye goggling woman to woman mystery?”

“What’re you talking about?” I wipe at a tear, and will myself to keep the rest in check.

“Never mind,” he says, tossing her card in the trash beside the bed.

“That’s mine.” I sit. The sudden movement makes me dizzy and I fall back against the pillow.

“Hey now,” he whispers, leaning over to stroke my bangs from my forehead. “You don’t need her, Annie. I’m here. You’re my girl. I’ll take care of you.”

There was a time when this sweet attention would have been all Jack needed to do. I would forget whatever was bothering me and believe that he really was all I needed.  When had that stopped being true? When my wedding ring flew from my finger during the accident? Before? The realization blindsides me. I start to cry.

“Oh no, Annie, don’t cry.” Jack retrieves Officer Petty’s card and puts it on the bedside table. “Okay now? Come on, Annie.” He strokes my arm, my face. “I’m here.”

But I don’t stop crying. I can’t. Anymore than I can make Jack understand I’m not the same Annie he married. She’s gone. Lost. I’m mourning her as much as the lost baby.

He continues to hold me until a nurse comes in to ask what’s wrong.

“She’s upset,” Jack says.

“I see that, sir.” The nurse looks at my chart then comes around to push a button on one of the intravenous lines going into my arm.

In the moment before the sedative works itself into my system, I reach over and take Officer Petty’s card. I close my fingers around it and pull it to my chest as if it were a life preserver.

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