I hustled to the front desk of the hospital, asking for my wife’s room in a frenzied attempt to see her for the last time. The secretaries working the desk were busy, ignoring my requests. I raised my voice at them.
“Can SOMEBODY please tell me what room Samantha Wallace is in?!”
I lost my nerve for only that second though, and immediately apologized before one of the nurses ran over to me, yelling hysterically.
“Sir! Sir! You can’t go in there!” More nurses noticed the commotion and ran over in assistance.
“What do you mean? I was just-”
“This is a hospital! It’s against the rules to barge through the door! Don’t you watch movies?”
“What are you talking about? I wasn’t even trying to… wait, movies?”
“What about movies?”
“You know, that scene where the distressed husband barges into the hospital to see his wife one last time while all of the nurses try to tell him that he can’t go back there but don’t really do much at all to stop him…”
“Now, like I said, you can’t go back there!”
It pained me to buy into the cliché, but I knew the only way these nurses were letting me see Samantha was to put on the act. So I started running, yelling Samantha’s name, bursting through doors, pushing past people, knocking over tables and carts until I realized I had no idea where I was going. How does the husband always just end up at the right room? Hospitals are huge! I ended up running down hallway after hallway doing the husband thing, pushing past everyone and everything in my way. I was exhausted by the time I finally found Samantha’s room.
The door was creaked open so I let myself in. I rolled my eyes. You’ve got to be kidding me. The whole room was dark, save one, lonely flickering candle on the bedside table.
“Alex, Alex baby come closer to me. I’m so tired” Samantha wearily uttered.
I was really getting sick of the clichés. When did she start calling me baby? Has she ever? I pulled a chair up next to her bed and leaned in close to her face.
“Hey….baby?” I sound fucking stupid.
“Baby? Oh Alex I’m so happy you’re here. I think I have exactly one minute left so you really came at the perfect time. What are the odds?”
“Anyway, baby. You’ve been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. We’ve had so many special moments.” She grabbed my hand, struggling slowly through her words. 30 seconds left. I knew how it would end. She would tell me she loves me. I dreaded it.
“I can’t b-believe we won’t b-be together any more. Take care of the kids.” She was really struggling through each word now. I was fretting. Could I let this happen? She coughed sickly, deathly. 10 seconds
“Of course…honey.” Here it comes.
“I…” her voice cut out behind the droning beep of the heart monitor. I immediately ran over to the bedside table to block the breeze that would surely blow out the flickering candle. I made it just in time to save the flame, blocking the soft gust of wind with my shirt.
So what if I pulled the plug on my dying wife to avoid cliché?