they don't name blizzards after women

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: May 17, 2017

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Submitted: May 17, 2017

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Operator: 9-1-1, what’s your emergency?
Caller: I thought I would never be as excited about the birth of my second child as my first, but I was.
Operator: Congratulations, sir!  Are you calling for an ambulance?
Caller: They warned us about the weather conditions.  It was national news.  You couldn’t escape it.  But... we had no choice.
Operator: Sir, please give me your address so I can dispatch an ambulance to your location.
Caller: When my wife’s water broke, I dressed our toddler like a ragdoll, roused from his sleep, while she retrieved the overnight bag and tried to remain calm.
Operator: OK, that’s good.  You’re doing everything right so far.  Remain calm and give me your address.
Caller: We head down to the car like this.  It’s covered in ice and snow.  I worry, I always worry, so I give her my arm for safety.  She doesn’t slip on the ice.  My son is rubbing at his eyes with wool mittens, still barely awake.  He’s not paying attention and I hope he will be safe, too.
Operator: Sir, I’ve pulled up your address based on your telephone number.  You say that you’re driving to the hospital?
Caller: I tell them both to wait in the car where it will be warmer, to protect them.  I tell them it will be alright as I wipe away the snow from the rooftop, chiseling the ice from the windshield.
Operator: You’re not responding to my questions.  If you’re in danger, sir, I need you to give me a signal.  We know your location, we can send help.
Caller: I clear off the driver’s side window next, the seat behind it afterward.
Operator: You sound nervous, sir.  I’m going to ask you again: give me a signal and I will send the police to your assistance.  Do you understand me, sir?  Say yes and I will send the police.
Caller: I scrape the back window, it’s really stuck on.  The trunk is frozen shut underneath the snow.  I can see my wife cradling the bag between the seatback and her belly, our son leaning up against her, already returned to sleep.
Operator: I’m going to ask you one more time, sir: is everything OK?
Caller: It seems to be.
Operator: Then what is your emergency, sir?
Caller: I go around and clear the passenger side windows.  When I see my wife I smile and scream, “We’re going to have another baby!”  But she does not respond to my cries.
Operator: Is your wife OK, sir?
Caller: No, she’s unresponsive.  By the time an ambulance arrives, she’s already dead.
Operator: Oh, my god… I’m…
Caller: My son must have went first, cradled in her arms.  The tailpipe was frozen, the cabin filling with carbon monoxide.
Operator: I’m…
Caller: It can happen in the length of a phone call.
Operator: I’m so sorry.
Caller: You said you’ll know the location of my body?
Operator: Sir?
Caller: We were having a girl.


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