The sterile smell of the hospitals maternity ward filled Corry's nostrils and instantly brought him back to the reality of the situation. He had first entered the hospital through the emergency department and directly into the center of the chaos therein. The busy buss of the ER surrounded him, the many faces that passed by him were forgotten now; just a nameless blur in the back of his mind.
It was quiet up here on the fourth floor though, save for the sounds of infants crying. Soon peacefulness washed over Corry that made him relax some, the worst of the night was over and now he had to wait. He sat down in the visitor’s chair that was provided beside the bed, and watched Andrea sleep, although she was unconscious, Corry thought that she looked more beautiful in that moment then she ever had before. Hours passed as Andrea slept, nurses came and went, and some were there to check the machines and some to give injections or start a new IV. Not once did she show any sign of revival and Corry feared that she would forever be trapped within the darkness of her own mind. This was not death yet it was not life, just a sad limbo from which there was no escape. Tears sprang to Corry's eyes as he watched her, this woman, the one and only person he had ever loved, would ever love, how he longed for just the smallest sign that she would be alright.
The crash was bad, or so he had heard people say as they passed by the open door. It was a wonder that she had even survived at all. Corry had few memories of the accident even though he had been the one driving. They were on their way to the store with a gift certificate that they had gotten from Corry's mother. There was a stroller for the baby that they wanted and with the extra money they now had enough. It was raining and dark but Corry had no trouble seeing the road, it was the other truck that was out of control. He ran a red light and hit Corry and Andrea's car head on. The collision was so quick that Corry had little time to react. He remembered the head lights of the oncoming car and then the impact as both vehicles were smashed together and thrown over the guard rail into the trees and brush that covered the hill on the other side of the road. After that, there was only darkness.
He awoke sometime later in the hospital, laying on a stretcher, tubes and machines hooked into him and strange faces walking in and out of the room. He wondered at first where he was, and then when realization hit him he wanted to know where Andrea was and what had happened. He tried to speak, to ask someone the questions that were burning in his mind but his body would not cooperate with him.
He could see everything around him, he could hear and smell but he could not move and it was then that true fear gripped him for if he were here like this, then what had become of his pregnant wife?
A woman came with a needle and stabbed it into a plastic tube unaware of the tears that were escaping her patient’s eyes. Corry slipped into the sweet oblivion of sleep, his questions unanswered for the moment but at least his pain had stopped.
Now, he looked at Andrea, her sweet ivory face and auburn hair. He wondered what she might be dreaming. Every now and again she was shiver some from the pain and once she made a slight whimpering sound. Corry placed his hand atop her head and whispered to her gently, it was all he could do for her now; she was so far out of his reach.
Corry stepped out of the room when Andrea's family arrived. He wanted them to have a moment alone with her so he walked mournfully down the hallway to the nursery where the crying sounds of new born babies could be heard. His child was not crying; she was asleep still, so small and fragile wrapped in a soft pink blanket and laid aside from the other children in a small, clear, plastic bassinet.
They had removed her from the incubator just recently and taken off the wires and tape that had until this point littered her tiny body. Corry walked to her side and looked down; a sad smile crossed his lips as he whispered, "My sleeping Angel." and touched her head. The baby made a cooing sound and opened her eyes. She looked up at Corry and a slight recognition passed between them as if the child was thinking, 'Yes, you are my daddy.' Corry picked her up and cradled her against him, his heart was aching for the child's mother to do the same but he knew now that it was not possible.
"Your mother would have loved you." He said to the child and the baby smiled. He turned, and with the baby in his arms walked back to Andrea's room.
His father and mother in law were there with their daughter, her mother holding her close. Andrea was awake now and crying. Corry walked into the room and stood at the end of the bed. “Live well, “he said to her, "And be happy. I love you."
A light filled the room and the baby Angel closed her small eyes as Corry held her closer to his chest, he nodded at the woman standing in the doorway. "I know." He said to her, "I was just saying goodbye."
He looked to Andrea one last time and for a moment he thought their eyes met but he knew that was not so, she could not see him anymore than her parents could but he felt for a moment that she knew he was there. With the baby in his arms, Corry walked through the door and to the others waiting for him there. The light vanished and with it so did Corry and his tiny Angel.
Andrea's mother held her tight as Andrea cried against her shoulder. "It's not fair." Andrea sobbed, "I wish it was me."
Her mother nodded as a tear slipped from her own eye, "My darling." She told her daughter in a shaky voice, "Before he died Corry asked God to take him instead...after that he was no longer able to speak."
Andrea closed her eyes and brushed the tears off her face, "I love you Corry." She whispered as her mother rocked her back and forth, "I love you so very much."
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