Rochelle Andersen


A young girl, 9 years old, comes running into her house excited, calling out for her mother. She looks in the kitchen first, that’s where she usually is, baking a “goody” for after school. Mother isn’t there so she looks in her bedroom, living room, back outside, around the house. No one is there. Her excitement is gone. Drowned. She walks slowly up the three stairs on the side that leads to the porch, walks inside toward the kitchen, hears what sounds to be her mothers singing, so she hurriedly, and excitedly runs, finding the kitchen window above the sink open, and seeing two birds standing there “singing”. She walks, in a slump, to the kitchen table, crosses her arms over it, puts her head down, and cries.

It’s night, one in the morning, and a grown woman, in her mid thirties, startles awake with the startings of a sweat. A man, lying next to her, supposedly her husband, wakes enough to tell her everything is going to be all right, and to go back to sleep, they’re supposed to be getting a call in five,or six hours. The woman replies that she knows, gets up to go to the bathroom to splash her face with cool enough water to calm her down, and goes back to bed, sleeping after five minutes have passed.

It’s six-thirty in the morning, and the man has just finished getting dressed after taking his shower, and on the way out of the room, nudges the woman awake. I’m coming, I’m coming she says as the man leaves the room to get breakfast.

It’s seven in the morning, and the woman is coming out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around her, from taking a shower, and proceeds to the closet to get dressed. The phone rings on her side of the bed. She scrambles over to pick it up just before the answering machine gets it. Hello, she says, a little bit of crackling coming through her voice. There’s a lady on the other end who responds by saying, “Rochelle? Rochelle Andersen?” The woman nods her head as the lady starts to speak. “It went beautifully. You can come see her after eight-thirty this morning.” The woman sighs, and says, “Yes. Yes, I’ll be there.”

Eight-thirty-five it says on her watch. She looks through the little window, and walks in. Her mother is in bed with her eyes closed. She looks peaceful. An angel. Yes, an angel. The woman takes the chair that’s nearby, and scoots it nearer the bed. Her mother lies there still, not moving. I understand, the woman says quietly. The nurse said you might not wake until sometime between nine, and noon. Take your time. I’m here. And you’re not getting rid of me.

The woman finds herself waking up, looks at her mother who still has her eyes closed, and still still. She looks at her watch, two-thirty. What’s wrong? Why hasn’t she awoke? The woman rushes out of the room looking for a nurse. “Why hasn’t my mother awoke? Noon was supposed to be the latest, and look what time it is, two-thirty,” the woman says anxiously. The nurse says for her to calm down, and tell her what room her mother is in. Room 2066. “That room is assigned to nurse Patterson. She’s just around the corner to the left.” The woman rushes past, almost to a run, to see nurse Patterson. There is a nurse behind the desk counter, a round one, resembling the one in General Hospital, and the woman asks if she is nurse Patterson. “Yes, I am. May I help you?” “May you help me? No, it’s more like, may you help my mother. I was told she would awake no later than noon, and here it is past two-thirty, and she still has her eyes closed.” “That can’t be”, the nurse says as she gets up to go check on the woman’s mother. “We gave her the max dosage, if not less.” They go to the room, and find her missing, and the bed made. The first nurse comes to the room, and calls out nurse Patterson’s name. The woman sees her, and says, “You. What have you done to my mother?” “Well, ma’am, when you told me what happened, I went, and checked on her, and found no pulse on her. I checked her for a minute at least”, she said this feeling the concern, “So I rang to have her taken downstairs. There was nothing we could have done to bring her back, ma’am.” The woman, not knowing what to do, asked for directions on how to get to her mother downstairs. “Go to the elevator across from the nurses counter, and go to the first floor. Turn to the left, and first door on the left.” What floor was the woman on now? Third floor.

The woman walks out of the elevator, notices a wall in front of her with a clock on it. Two-forty-five. Turns to her left, and finds doors with the word “Morgue” written across them.

The woman gets things settled, and contemplates life during the week before the funeral.

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