A Soft Place to Land: Chapter One

One Month After Marah Woke Up…

Danny watched his cousin with no small amount of amusement.  The other man was like a whirlwind tornado moving from room to room picking up everything that had accumulated since Marah had been in the hospital.  Judging by the decent amount of pizza boxes being shoved into the large trash bag Tony had really let his personal habits slide the past month.  His cousin was normally pretty fastidious about his living space as well as his own personal hygiene,  the presence of clutter told Danny all he needed to know about how well Tony was holding up.  And that wasn’t well, not at all.

“Tony!  Slow down.  You are going to wear yourself out.”  Danny glanced at the dog who was watching his master with curious eyes. “Yeah Toby, he may have just crossed over to the other side of crazy.  Not that he was ever really on the right side of sanity to begin with”

Tony barely spared him a glance, he threw the trash bag towards the corner and moved on to the vacuum.  Over the roar of the machine he called out, “Har har.  You’re so funny.  You want to help? How about you dust the furniture?  And I thought you were bringing the dog back tomorrow.”  Tony refocused on his vacuuming as if he were being tested over his success.

“Had to bring him early.  The kids have been in dog heaven the past month, especially Robbie.  If I didn’t bring him over as soon as possible I had the feeling I would have been guilted into making a trip by the pound for our own four-legged companion.”  Danny glanced at the living room table, which Tony had dusted twice already, that was gleaming in the afternoon sun. “Now I am more than willing to help you but I think it’s already been done.  Twice that I know of, probably a few dozen before I even arrived.”

Tony switched off the vacuum cleaner and sighed deeply. “I think I might be going out of my mind.  I just keep thinking that everything has to be perfect.  If it’s perfect it will help Marah and I get back on track.”

“I am sure Marah loves you for more than your cleaning skills.  Though you are awfully good with a vacuum Daisy Maid.  Have you ever thought of doing this professionally?”

“Well aren’t you just the funny guy today.” Tony surveyed the room and let out another frustrated breath.  “I always seem to mess up where Marah is concerned. I just want her to walk in our home and feel at ease.  Safe.  I want that for both of my girls.”

Danny noticed that Tony’s sudden cleaning rampage wasn’t the only thing new about the place. “Nice tree”  Yeah that was a lie.  The Christmas tree, using that term loosely, that Tony had placed in front of the large picture window was mostly bare, and crooked.  Charlie Brown had a better tree than his cousin.  “I wouldn’t suggest plugging in that strand of lights, this whole place may go up in flames.”

Tony grabbed one of the accent pillows off the couch and began to fluff it roughly.  “And the witty repartee just keeps on coming.  And just so you know, it was the last one left on the lot.  You know how Marah loves Christmas, hell the whole Lewis clan is big on the holiday.  So even though she missed it being in the hospital I was hoping it would bring back some good memories.”  He moved to put away the vacuum.

Danny could understand his cousin’s dilemma, he had been there himself.  And he knew no amount of encouragement would help.  They were simply just words at a time like this so he moved on.  “Speaking of Marah she’s getting released today isn’t she?  Her and Lanie?  Shouldn’t you be getting to the hospital?”

Tony wrapped the vacuum cord vigorously.  “That neurosurgeon, Dr. Salas, he  seems to think it would be best if I didn’t pick her up.  Says it agitates her and could hamper her recovery.”

“Since when do you listen to advice?”

Tony scoffed. “Since my past came back to haunt me and nearly killed my wife.”  He was silent as the truth of those words hit him hard.  He had nearly lost everything because he had withheld the truth, the truth that could have saved Marah and him so much heartache.  “Now enough talking.  We still have work to do.”

Danny didn’t know what else Tony could possibly clean but he knew it was more about keeping busy than completing actual chores.  “Fine.  But if you think I am scrubbing your toilets you are sorely mistaken.”

***

Sitting up in her hospital bed Marah stared into the blinking unfocused eyes of her daughter.  Her daughter.  She had no memory of being pregnant or giving birth, but yet the proof was literally staring her directly in the face.  The whole situation was surreal and a bit daunting.  As though she should keep pinching herself to make sure all this wasn’t some huge dream or one colossal joke.  But no amount of self-abuse changed the reality.  She actually was a wife and mother.

The reminder that she was married to Tony brought forth a whole other set of panic.  She was married to Tony Santos, the one man on this planet who had the power to break her heart into a million little pieces.  Which he had, a few times over, it was kind of the hallmark of their relationship.  And though she may have lost a lot of her memories she still remembered when her mother had called to tell her that Tony had passed away.  The deep-rooted ache that had filled her, the realization that they would never get another chance.  Nevermind that she was living in Paris, as long as both of them were breathing there had been a chance.  Yet here she was, married to a man who had broken her heart and was supposed to be dead.  The myriad of questions running through her mind made her head pound.

The knock on the door snapped Marah out of her pity party.  “Come in.”

The door opened and in breezed Reva carrying a large tote bag that almost threatened to tip her sideways. “Hey honey! How are you feeling today?”  She dropped the large bag on the visitor’s chair before leaning down and gazing at her granddaughter with a smile. “Tony and you sure make some cute babies.”

Marah ignored her mother’s comment and instead nodded to the chair. “What’s in the bag?”

Reva scooped up little Lanie in her arms and smiled, “Why my beautiful daughter you are getting sprung from this place today!  I figured you would like something to ride home in than that lovely paper gown that flashes your backside.”

For the first time in days Marah found herself laughing.  It felt good.  Mindful of the gown, which did  indeed show her backside, and her stitches, she gingerly got out of the hospital bed.  “So, um, why didn’t Tony come pick me up?  If we are married and all…”  Marah let her question trail off but if she knew her mother she would be spilling her guts any time soon.

Reva looked up from making funny faces at Lanie. “We all just thought that someone…familiar picking you up was best.  He’s at home, and if I know him he is probably cleaning up two weeks of living like a bachelor.”

“I don’t know when he would have the time.  He basically lived here at Cedars visiting Lanie.”

“Honey I have no doubt he visited his daughter.  That man flashed sonogram pictures for almost nine months so I know how proud he is of this little one.” She indicated the baby in her arms, “But make no mistake, you have been the first thing on his mind.  Always have been.”

Marah didn’t know how to respond to that so she simply grabbed the bag her mother packed for her and went to change.  For the ride home.  Home.  Marah wasn’t sure exactly what that entailed and the very thought threatened to send her into a state of panic.  Instead of letting it overtake her Marah rushed into the bathroom.  One crisis at a time.

***

Dr. Salas was silent as he studied Marah’s latest set of CAT scan images.  And that silence put Marah on edge even more than she already was.  Was he going to tell her that this amnesia was permanent?  That she would never regain her memories back? He needed to say something already!

Finally he turned around and gave her a reassuring smile. “I do good work if I do say so myself.” He moved to the side of the bed where she was anxiously sitting. “The good news is that I don’t see any permanent damage. ”

Marah sagged in relief. “That’s good news.  Though why can’t I remember anything?”

“Sometimes after great trauma our mind takes us back to a time when we last felt safe.  With some rest I am optimistic you will make a full recovery.  Of course you have a newborn baby and that is going to be tricky.  I suggest you get someone to help you, especially considering both you and your husband have busy careers.  Perhaps an in-home helper.” He pursed his lips as he looked over her chart once again,  “Are you still having headaches?”

“Just about every time I open my eyes.  And calling them headaches is like calling a hurricane a little rain storm.”

“That is normal with head traumas and should go away after a few weeks.” He pulled out his prescription pad and started writing. “But still I am also writing you a prescription for some pain medicine to help with those migraines.  I also want to see you in a month for reevaluation but Marah Santos you are officially cleared to get out of here.”

Marah took the script and tucked it into the purse by her side before gingerly moving off the bed. “Well Doc I guess I’ll be seeing you in a month.”

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