This is part 2 of an older fiction story I started to write years ago. Part one can be found HERE. I still don’t have a name for this story.
Then he walked into the room.
Even in my panic, the name DiAngelo had struck me as ironic. But if I had thought I was struggling for air before, I was now going into a full blown asthma attack.
Tony DiAngelo. I hadn’t seen him in about fifteen years, over half a lifetime ago. I put my hand to my neck, hoping that someone in that room would see that I was suffocating.
“She needs her inhaler,” Tony said. How did he know? I hadn’t developed asthma until about five years ago.
The voice was the same. That same voice that had haunted me for so long even after he had dropped off the face of the earth. I felt rather than saw someone putting an inhaler in my hand. I squeezed it, inhaling, waiting for my trachea to relax and allow the air to reach my lungs.
“Where is Jason?” I asked when I finally caught my breath. “What the Hell is going on here?”
The nurse was standing beside me, her hand sort of holding mine in an attempt to comfort me.
“Honey, you’ve been through so much. You should try to calm down.”
“Look, if you tell me to calm down again, I’m going to show you just how calm I’m being right now. I want Jason in here, right now.”
“Who is Jason?” Tony asked.
“What are you doing in here? Why are you here? Where is Jason? I want my husband!” Every sentence was a little higher. I knew I was getting “hysterical,” but I couldn’t seem to stop myself.
“We may need to sedate her,” Dr. What-ever-his-name was said. (In that moment, I couldn’t recall. I was too overwhelmed.)
“No. I don’t want to be sedated. I just need answers. Please.” I didn’t want to sink into that spinning darkness again. “I’ll calm down.”
I sat perfectly still, to prove that I could be calm. Inside, my heart was still racing.
“Why is she like this?” I heard Tony asking the doctor quietly. “Is it because of the head injury?”
“Concussions can lead to confusion, even some memory loss. She did suffer from a more moderate to severe concussion.”
“Please,” I said, “Can you tell me where Jason Wilkins is?” I asked the nurse.
“I’m not really sure,” she said. “I’m not sure who he is. Is he a patient here?”
“He’s my husband,” I said. “He was in the car, and my children, too, when we crashed.”
“Honey, your husband is right here,” she said, pointing to Tony.
“That man is NOT my husband,” I said, quietly but firmly. “I don’t know what is going on here, or what he has told you, but I am married to Jason Wilkins, NOT Tony DiAngelo. Please, make him leave. Find Jason. Help me.”
She looked a bit confused, then said, “I’ll talk to the doctor about this. I’ll have to talk to security, too.”
She walked up to the doctor and Tony, who were still involved in a quiet conversation.
“Excuse me, Doctor, but can we take this outside for a few minutes? I think the patient needs to rest, and there is something that we need to discuss. If you don’t mind, Mr. DiAngelo, I think it would be better if you left as well, just for now.”
They all walked out of the room. I reached over and picked up the phone when they left. Maybe Jason still had his cell phone turned on.
I dialed nine to get out of the hospital, then his number – (703) 555-2846, thinking about how we had laughed at the number because it made the sign of the cross. It started to ring. Answer please, I thought.
“We’re sorry, the number you have dialed is not in service. No other information is available. Please hang up, and try again.”
I felt my heart fall into the pit of my stomach.