I have had this short in my head since I finished What Matters Most but I kept trying to put it on the back burner to get Lost and Found completed. Unfortunately, Tony Santos was pretty adamant about his voice being heard and Tony Santos never was known for his patience. So I thought this would be a nice Christmas treat for the readers of this blog….This short is a bit different than the other shorts in that is entirely from Tony’s POV while Marah was unconscious in the hospital. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday!
I watch the monitor as it registers every beat of her heart. To me that beeping is the most beautiful sound in the world. She may not be conscious but as long as that sound keeps echoing in this sterile room I know she is still here. Still holding on.
And I need her to keep holding on because without Marah I am lost. She has always been the only one able to keep the darkness from overtaking me. My very own guiding light. The saint to my sinner.
So yes, I relish every beat of her heart. Right now it is the only thing keeping me from doing something that would destroy what’s left of my tarnished soul. Because if I could get my hands on Carlos I would choke the very breath from his body. So instead I close my eyes and just listen.
I reach forward and hold her small listless hand in my larger ones and pray like I have never prayed before. Pray that she will open her eyes, pray that when she wakes up we still have a chance.
Time moves incredibly slow here. Other than the shift nurses and the occasional visitor I feel like we are part of a movie stuck on pause just waiting until someone comes along and presses play. Presses play and the world is right again. Taking a deep breath I rub the back of my fingers down her cheek. “I have prayed more in the past two days than I have my entire life. I am not sure if God hears the prayers of a sinner like me, he certainly never answered them the years I was locked in Romeo’s cage but maybe that was part of the plan. Maybe he knew I’d need them now, and Baby I need them more than ever.” I take a deep breath as the tears welling up in my eyes threaten to spill over. “I got to see Lanie earlier and I swear she’s the prettiest baby that I have ever seen. She’s a little small and they are monitoring her but I could see it in her eyes, she is a fighter just like her mama. And I need you to keep fighting baby because I don’t think I can do this without you.”
I hang back as Reva and Josh spend time with their daughter. I know I should probably give them some privacy but the only time I’ve left this room in the past forty-eight hours has been to see Lanie. To reach through the incubator and reassure her that she is not alone, but visiting hours in the NICU aren’t for another twenty minutes. I am so lost in thought that I don’t realize Josh has come over until he places his hand on my shoulder.
“Why don’t you go home and get some sleep. Maybe get yourself a proper meal.” He smiles ruefully, “No offense Tony buy you look like hammered shit.”
I appreciate his attempt at humor even if I can’t find it within me to laugh. “No offense Josh but you don’t look any better.” And he doesn’t/ Josh looks like he’s aged about ten years in the past couple of days.
Josh lets out a grunt of agreement, “True enough. I certainly feel it.” We stand in comfortable silence for a few moments. Simply watching Reva talk animatedly with Marah. “You know it never gets easier, being a father. No matter how old they get you will always see them as the children that looked at you like you could fix the world. They have a way of making you feel like you can take on the world and yet feel helpless at the same time.”
That is a feeling I am all too familiar with. “I have been a father for two days and I already feel helpless.”
Josh reaches over and slaps my on the back, “Better get used to it because it never gets easier.”
“How can you be so nice to me? I am part of the reason she is in here and not at home where she belongs.” The words burst forth unchecked but damn if I don’t want to know. By all rights Josh should be plotting the best way to kill me and dispose of the body. And I wouldn’t blame him one bit.
But Josh just shakes his head. “This isn’t your fault. Because my daughter loves you. Because you are the father of my grandchild. Pick a reason.” With another slap on the back he moves away from the wall. “Now I am going to collect my wife and go visit our granddaughter. I hear she is quite the little beauty.”
And I can tell he is thinking exactly what I am. Just like her mom.
I stare out the hospital window watching the snow gently falling on the ground. Christmas was always Marah’s favorite holiday, in fact the entire Lewis clan celebrated Christmas like no one I’d ever seen. This time last year we were putting up their first tree together and now Marah was lying in a hospital bed fighting for her life. But this snow reminded me of another Christmas I held dear.
“Do you remember that Christmas we went up to your parent’s cabin?” I smiled at how different they were then. How much time had changed them. “I had never seen anything as beautiful as you by the fire. How everything seemed to be falling into place for us then the snow began.”
“You know that is one of my favorite moments, well not so much the stealing of the snowmobile or Josh’s death stares, but what came afterwards. Decorating the tree with your family, you making me part of your family tradition.” I take a deep breath and turn to see her lying there, looking so much like an angel. Like the saint to my sinner. “I held that memory with me for years until I was able to come home and make new traditions with you.”
Moving around the room I once again take up vigil at Marah’s bedside. And the silence envelops us, the only sound the beeping from the machines keeping her alive. Leaning down I press my lips to hers, hoping that even lost in her mind that she can feel my desperation and return to me. “You need to keep holding on baby. Because I want a lifetime of making new traditions with you. Hell, a lifetime will not even be long enough!”
But the only answer I got was silence.