As Carl is wheeled through the swinging doors of St. Luke’s Memorial Hospital, his wife follows closely. Before the doors swing shut, she sees
Bethany and Jeff arrive in the lobby.
“Kids!” she says. “Wait here. I’ll come and get you as soon as I can.”
“But we want to come with!” Bethany says.
The emergency room doors swing closed. Bethany wipes away a tear from her right eye, turns around, and leads her brother to the nearby waiting area. They sit down on a two-seat blue couch with its back to the window. The sun beams through the window. They are worried about their dad. Loud and overlapping chatter surrounds them. A page is made over the public address system in the hospital calling for a doctor to report to the emergency room. The phone rings behind the front desk. An elderly man sits alone in the waiting area across from where they sit. The TV in the waiting area has a soap opera on. A man on a stretcher is wheeled in through the swinging doors by paramedics. And they lead him through the same set of doors Bethany and Jeff just watched their father go through. Bethany wraps her right arm around her younger brother. A nurse approaches them.
“Is everything going to be okay?” Bethany asks, with tears rolling down each of her cheeks. Her brother sits quietly next to her, worried and afraid.
Doctors frantically attempt to revive Carl. Suddenly, he slowly opens his eyes, and the heart monitor at his bedside starts a high-pitched and sporadic beep.
“What happened?” he asks groggily. “Where am I?”
His wife’s eyes are red from crying. He doesn’t know why she was crying or why she was leaning over him.
“Sweetheart,” she says, sniffling and catching her breath, “are you okay?”
“Yeah. I guess so. I’ve been better. What happened? What’s going on?”
“Well, Mr. Robertson,” the doctor says, “you’ve just had a mild heart attack. We’re going to run more tests to see if there is any damage, and we’ll also schedule an echocardiogram. Right now, just try to relax and get some rest.”
Carl looks at his worried wife confused. He reaches for her hand. She reaches for his hand, and they firmly hold each other's right hands. Faint chatter echoes through the doorway. The heart monitor continues its high-pitched and sporadic beep.
“Is there anything I can get you, sweetie?” his wife asks.
“Okay. I’ll be right back.”
He watches her leave the room and sighs deeply, trying to relax. He leans his head back into the pillow. Suddenly, the hairs on the back of his neck stand up, and he looks around.
“Hi, Carl,” a familiar male voice says from a dark corner in the room.
The voice surprises him.
“Do you remember me?” the voice asks. A faint image begins to appear of a man. Carl rubs his eyes trying to get a better look. He suddenly recognizes him.
“How could I forget?” he replies.