Authors: Shannon Yarbrough
Are You Sitting Down?
Are You Si
Are You Sitting Down?
Copyright © 2010 by Shannon Yarbrough
Edition: Shanlian Wordlit Press
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be repr
duced in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the author, except in the case of brief quotations used in reviews or articles.
Cover Art: “Abandoned Chair” by Sally Ashbrook
family is but an early heaven.
-George Bernard Shaw
To my brother and my sister.
I may be taller, but I will always look up to you.
A severe headache woke me from my dreams.
I dabbed at my tongue with my fingers, thinking I tasted copper. Maybe it was just the wine we’d had with supper
and I had not shared a bottle of wine in years.
I sat up in bed and did not know where I was.
I did not recognize the aging beautiful woman sleeping soundly beside me.
She was nuzzled into my arm like she knew me.
I pulled myself from her grasp, threw back the sheets, and put my feet on the floor. My sudden movement woke her.
“Frank, honey, what’s wrong?”
She knew my name.
“Where am I?” I asked.
“What do you mean?
Frank, what’s wrong?”
“I feel sick…don’t know…what…”
I tried to stand but suddenly felt light headed.
My left arm ached like it wasn’t there.
I reached up to rub my temples but I couldn’t feel my face.
As my sight began to fade in and out, the woman beside me got up and walked around to my side of the bed.
She knelt down in front of me and looked deep into my face.
“Frank, are you okay?”
nside my head I knew she was my wife
, but I had no control over the words coming out of my mouth
A tear fell down her face.
She ran to the dresser and picked up the phone.
“Hello, this is Lorraine White.
It’s my husband.
I think he’s having a stroke or a heart attack.
Yes, please send an ambulance.
Please hurry,” she ma
naged to say through heavy sobs, dropping the phone on the floor.
I had lain back down on the bed clutching my numb hand.
My ears clogged up like I had gone under water.
’s voice was suddenly muffled.
I watched her drop the phone and rush back over to the bed.
She sat down next to me and pushed sweaty strands of hair from my forehead.
She took my gimp hand and squeezed it.
I could feel it again
there in hers.
As I tried to steady my breathing, I concentrated on her lips mout
ing muted words of comfort and love but I could not hear them.
It was one of those blurry moments in a movie when someone has just opened their eyes to
one standing over them, only nothing was coming into clear focus for me now.
I studied the wet wrinkles beneath her eyes.
I needed to tell her good-bye.
I wanted to tell her I loved her and to take care of the kids, but the photo on my nightstand
they were all old enough to take care of her now.
I knew in my heart that she was my wife and that those young people in the phot
graph were my kids; this was my family.
My dear wife. My loving family.
But the ruptured blood vessel, the lack of ox
gen to my brain, blocked all of my comprehension.
“She’s going to be okay. She won’t be alone,” a voice said to me from somewhere in the room.
It was a voice I knew, but had not heard in a very long time.
’s face, I knew she had not heard it.
I was either imagining it or it was only a voice for me.
“Tell her I love her,” I said back to the voice, but I said it inside my head because my lips still would not move.
I love her.”
“She knows you love her.
The kids know too.
They will be okay without you.
It’s time to go
Had I only known this evening would be the last time I kissed
and laid down beside her for what should have been just another routine night of peaceful sleep, I don’t think I would have gone to bed at all.
was crying out in agony.
The phone screamed a busy signal behind her from being left off the r
ceiver. She crawled across the floor on her hands and knees and picked it up.
She madly pressed the buttons, calling som
Are you sitting down?”
stopped fighting and let my eyes close
, and when I opened them again I was standing with my mother and father who had both died long ago.
They were smiling at me like they had not seen me in years.
I felt the need to look back and see
just one more time, but
wouldn’t let me.
My parents took me by the hand and we faded
Beautiful white light surround
ed me and I didn’t hurt anymore, and I knew it was the end of days when our stories
and mine and the kids
had happy endings
r was it only the beginning?