Alternative Ending

 

     Jenna and I drive in our car on the way to the hospital, her stomach throbs from under her baby doll top and she whimpers in pain. I keep my eyes on the road, speeding through traffic trying to get her to the hospital as soon as possible.

     Our first baby is fighting her way down Jenna trying to see the world that is beckoning her. Jenna's water had broken when the baby room had finally been finished (perfect timing) and she had stared up at me, her beautiful black hair in long braids on her shoulders and a cold sweat breaking out on her forehead. With baby bag in hand, we had rushed out of our new house, which I had bought shortly before our wedding, leaving my bachelorhood behind in the condo that had housed me for some of my lonely years without Jenna.

     "I can feel her," she says, holding her bulging stomach in her hands. "Mike, she's coming!"

     "I know, I know," I say as I wheel the car around a large truck. "We're almost—"

     "Mike look out!" Jenna screams as a car appears out of nowhere. I swerve out of its way and try to regain my composure as I realize what could have occurred—it could have been fatal.

     "Be careful, please, or else she might just come out here!" Jenna jokes as she squints against the pain.

     I laugh nervously and focus on the road, fearful of the near-death experience that we had just encountered.

     "So, did you decide on a name yet?" I ask the writhing Jenna, trying to distract her.

     "Yes..." Jenna says between gasps, "but you will only know when she is in our—"

     The car comes out of nowhere, hitting the passenger seat with full force, which sends us flying down the freeway.

     Metal scrapes on the pavement and my eyesight disappears as blackness engulfs me. Jenna...

 

My eyes shoot open and I barely register my broken limbs as I recognize that I am in a hospital room. A nurse is changing some tubes out of my arms and I see my mother asleep on the couch beside my bed.

"Mom?" I say, my voice barely above a whisper.

The whisper must have sounded like thunder to her since she awakes startled and looks in my direction. "Michael! Gracias dios mio, gracias!"

Tears stream down her aged cheeks as she holds tightly onto my arm. "Mom," I say frightened, "Where's Jenna?" I think it strange that after whatever had happened, Jenna would be the first to see me awake, not my mother.

This only causes more tears to fall from her eyes and she shakes her head. I don't understand, What happened?

Seeing the panic in my eyes, she apologizes in a muffled voice due to her covering her mouth, "I'm so sorry Michael, I'm so sorry!"

Fear finally falls down upon me as I remember the car crash... on Jenna's side. "Mom, what happened to Jenna?" I start to speak incoherently, trying to ignore the dawning reality that is too unspeakable to realize, "Is she okay? Where are they holding her? Mom!"

"I'm so sorry baby," she says finally as she lets go of my struggling arm. "They tried everything, but it was too late."

I swallow the bile that is rising in my mouth as I look up, terrified, at my mother, "And the baby?"

"She is..." My mother stares at me, trying to see whether I am prepared for the news or not, "She is healthy and is currently sleeping."

The shock sends me back onto the bed, since I had been sitting straight up and had been ignoring the pain that is shooting out of various broken bones. Reality is finally hitting me and I suddenly feel tired.

"She is beautiful, looks just like," she smiles weakly, "She looks just like her mother."

I barely let her words register as I let the drugs that the nurse inserted into the tubes take me into the darkness of sleep.

 

I wake up to a silent cry beside me.

My mother stands beside my bed with a bundle in her arms that is quietly crying, a gentle and silent sound. Noticing my awakened state she stares at me with wide eyes. "Meet your daughter Michael."

I feel groggy and a sharp pain hits me as I remember that my Jenna is gone forever, but I helplessly take the small bundle.

She looks so much like her mother that I feel hot tears stinging the cuts on my face. Her jet black hair is shocking on her pale face and her eyes are semi-closed. Her nose is the same as my mother's, but she is my little replica of the woman that I love. The woman that is forever lost.

My little Jenna stares up at me and almost questions me with her almost blind eyes.

"What will you name her?" My mother asks as she watches me lovingly caress the cheek of my daughter.

A tear falls onto her little forehead and a watery smile escapes my lips, "Jenna was about to tell me, but I always secretly knew what she wanted to call her."

My mother waits patiently as I grab my baby's little searching hand. The room is silent and the sun is streaming through the curtains reaching my broken heart. The only hope my life has of regaining a meaning lies in my oversized hands and her strong, rapid heartbeat echoes onto my palms.

"Lorena," I finally say, "You are Jenna's little Lorena."

The End

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