"Hello! Wade residence." Sam Wade pushed his hand into his pant pocket, waiting for someone to speak. His face appeared calm and placid, but blood shot were his eyes as he waited for good news — or news that would destroy his life.
"Is there a Mr. Samuel Wade there?" asked the voice."Yes, this is he," he said anxiously, to hear what the man had to say."My name is Dr. Jeremy Talbot. I believe, the woman fitting the description of your wife, Angelina is at my hospital. The man who brought her here wouldn't give us his name. He left in a hurry when my staff tried to get information from him. The young woman is under my care and has just been transferred out of ICU..."
In the silence he heard her footsteps. The questions flooded back, haunting him. Gazing at the photograph on top of the mantle of the marble fireplace, he looked into her radiant eyes. He could never forget their shape, their blue coloring, or their effect on him. He retraced the events that unfolded on the day of her disappearance. She was scheduled to attend a writer's conference but never showed up. No witnesses could place her at the hotel or the airport that day. She simply vanished, like smoke into thin air.
He stared at the table trying to grasp the significance of the moment. His knee hit the table and the coffee spilled. Onto the clean, tan colored rug, the liquid dripped in rhythm with the clock.
"Mr. Wade, this is Dr. Talbot. Did you hear me?""Is she all right?" Sam asked."Mr. Wade, she is at New York Medical Hospital. I know you’re located in Los Angeles. We need to talk in person about her condition as soon as possible."
“Yes, of course! I’ll be on the first flight I can catch. Thank you for letting me know she is under your care,” he stammered.
"Mr. Wade, I need to caution you.There is a chance this woman may not be your wife. She suffers from amnesia and is unable to provide any information on who she is or how she came here. Let's not jump to conclusions until you identify her. I ‘ll see you when you arrive at the hospital and talk to you then."
He stood, the receiver forgotten in his hand. After several seconds, the handset beeped a shrill piercing and signal, communicating that it had been left off the hook. He put it back in its cradle. His heart thumped as he went to the master bedroom.
The next several minutes were spent stuffing clothes and items he would need into a couple of leather suitcases. He called airlines, looking to book the next flight that was leaving to New York. An hour later reservations for a hotel room near the hospital had been made. Everything was readyA horn blew.
He hurriedly went to the closet grabbed a jacket then put it on. His hands reached for his bags. He turned around and walked outside. The door slammed behind him.
He whispered a child's prayer: "I wish I may, I wish I might, be with my love again tonight." The night air chilled him. He scooted himself inside the cab, welcoming the warmth going through him.
"Where to?" asked the driver.
"LAX Airport. My flight leaves about 6:40 p.m." He glanced at his watch.They would arrive early enough for the mandatory hour and a half check in before boarding. His thoughts wandered to life as a performer: the flights, the excitement, and the life. He'd focus on his career again, once he brought his wife home. He’d be a father to his children. They needed him as much as he needed her.
The cab pulled up to the airport curb and the cabbie peered at him closely."I know you," he said as he glanced in his rear view mirror looking at him."You’re Sam Wade, the famous singer. You’re married to the novelist, Ginger Adams. My wife reads all of her books. We go to your concerts when you’re performing in town.We’re big fans of yours. We were devastated when we heard that she disappeared. Our hearts are with you, so are our prayers. She will be found.""
Thank you for your prayers. I do appreciate them.” He could tell the man was sincere. His words touched his heart.
The driver got out of the cab to help with the suitcases. Sam thanked him, shook his hand, and paid his fare. He gave the man a twenty-dollar tip, something he hadn't done in quite some time.
Sam watched him as he left, then walked hurriedly to check his luggage in. He walked into a store and bought a paper to read. Little children were screaming, wanting their parents to buy them a toy. He couldn’t wait to get back outside.
After waiting an hour, he finally boarded. Once in a seat he closed his eyes to try to get some sleep, but he was too wound up. All he could think about was whether the woman in the hospital was his wife.
The air traffic was stacked up over La Guardia. The landing time was bumped back over and over. The sun edged over the New York skyline when he stepped off the portable ramp into the terminal and made his tired way to baggage claim. For ten dollars, a skycap whistled down a Yellow Cab.
"New York Medical Hospital," Sam said as he climbed in.
The cab moved through the traffic. He leaned his head on the stained black upholstery, watching the buildings that reached overhead like branches of tall trees.
New York Medical Hospital was a gray granite building squat and silent in the early morning. The cab pulled up to the ER entrance. He pulled out his wallet and paid the taxi driver."
Hey, buddy. You forgot your luggage!" the cabby shouted.
He sighed and retraced the ten steps to the cab."Thank you, here is a fifty if you can deliver my luggage, I would appreciate it.” He gave the cabbie the name of his hotel.
His steps quickened as he climbed the steps to the hospital entrance. The early morning air was cold. It seemed to go through his shirt and jacket like a breath of frost. He shivered convulsively in his light California clothing. The red glow of the Emergency sign lit the entrance with a garish light.
"Hello. My name is Samuel Wade. Is there a Dr. Talbot here? I need to speak with him about a female patient under his care." He swallowed hard and squared his shoulders.
"Yes! Let me page him for you, Mr. Wade. He is with another patient right now.Give me a few minutes to locate him." The nurse tilted her head back then peered at his face."Please wait in the lounge until I reach him. I will let him know where he can find you." Her mouth curved into an unconscious smile.
He returned to the waiting room and sat waiting for Dr. Talbot.He was grateful for the quiet in the room as he settled into a chair and let his thoughts wander to the first time he saw Angelina.
He was singing at a concert. She was one of many attractive young women in the audience, but she was the one he couldn't keep his eyes off of. Her hair was a rich, glowing auburn. Her blue eyes, as blue as the skies, brightened finely sculpted, exotic cheekbones. The dress she wore matched her eyes. She looked as delicate as a rose. No, something more exotic: a beautiful orchid that blossomed then lit the room with an elusive beauty. He was entranced.
Her voice trembled when she called him on the phone. They both knew it was destiny. Like any other couple, they had obstacles. Rochelle and Stephen had tried to interfere breaking them up, but they worked through them. Their relationship steadily grew stronger. He knew she was the woman he wanted to spend his life with. She was Helen of Troy; she was Isabelle; she was a fabled beauty that men would fight and die for.
She gave him two wonderful children. He had missed the birth of his son, Sammy when she moved to Montana. Thank God he was there for his daughter, Kayla. His brow tightened as he recalled how Angelina moved to Montana, not realizing she was carrying his unborn child when Stephen Ross stepped into her life — Stephen Ross who would have hurt or even killed whoever got in his way. And who didn’t want Angelina anywhere near Sam.
He never forgot the showdown when he arrived in Montana to bring her back home. He doubted if he possessed the strength too win until he saw her holding their son. That day marked the conception of their second child.Stephen followed them to Los Angeles. After a romantic night at Sam’s, he waited for them to come home a .45-caliber pistol in his hand. Both Angelina and Sam were injured. Stephen died by a shot fired from his own gun.
Perhaps it was predestined for them to endure hardship earlier in order to appreciate the sweetness of life even more. Sam became a well-known singer/musician and Angelina's fame as a novelist spread. Love grew and they accompanied each other on tours when time permitted. He suddenly became aware of a man standing in front of him.
“Excuse me, Mr. Wade? I’m Dr. Talbot.” Dr. Talbot extended a hand. Sam rose in one fluid motion and then shook his hand, trying his best to focus on the present.The doctor was short. His hair was the type that shines blue in some lights, his hazel eyes hooded and watchful. Even though he was slightly overweight, he possessed a commanding presence. The two men nodded, in a male bonding form of instant affirmation.
He noticed the chart in the doctor’s left hand. "Is it possible to see Angie...the woman now? I need to know if she is my wife." He tried to keep the impatience out of his voice.
"Yes, we will take you to see her in a minute, Mr. Wade, but first I need to let you know she may not remember you. She has no memory of who she is or where she is from.I want you to be prepared. This young woman may not be your wife." His mouth twisted.
"I’m ready to see her. Let's go."
Sam didn’t care how long it took for her to recover. Too remember their life and their beautiful children. He would be there for her.
"Slow down, son. You won’t find her without me." Dr. Talbot caught him by the elbow and led him.
The doorway at the end of the hall stood open. The curtains were drawn back, letting the early morning sunlight into the room. His eyes traveled the room, coming to rest on the woman lying asleep in the single hospital bed. He walked toward the bed and began to tremble.His eyes filled with tears.
It was Angelina! It was his wife! Her face was a translucent ivory. Her beautiful long, auburn hair draped across one arm. The other tucked under the pillow, like a sleeping child.Dr. Talbot cleared his throat.
"Mr. Wade is this your wife?"He bent over the bed willing her to wake up and look at him. “Yes, I have found my Angel."
His answer was soft, his eyes misty. "I will be here when she wakes up," he continued his eyes never left her face.
"As soon as Mrs. Wade wakes up, I want you to have the nurse at the desk page me. I will be back to check on her.There is paperwork. We need a picture...identification. Hospital rules. I hope you understand. This is for her protection."
His expression was serious."Dr. Talbot, I do appreciate your care and the hospital thoroughness in identifying my wife. I want to wait for her to wake up. I hope you understand we have been apart for longer than I want to think about. If she wakes up and sees me, she might recognize me."
"That's a good idea Mr. Wade. For your sake, I hope you’re right. I have other patients I need to check. Page me when she wakes up. I’ll get back as soon as I can."
The door closed with a click. Sam sat close to his wife in a metal chair. The quiet was barely broken by her breathing. He longed to touch her and stroke her hair badly, but he settled for laying his hand on top of hers. She stirred slightly, but never woke.
God he loved her with everything inside him. Nothing mattered, but this instant. There would be difficult times ahead—he was sure of it—but God brought her home. This was the woman who changed his life. Sam Wade the man who once needed nothing crumbled under a rush of unconditional love.Finally, he understood what it was to love with your whole soul – expecting nothing in return. Yes, he would wait for her as long as the chance of her growing complete again remained.
He sat back on the chair and waited.
© Copyright 2016 Josi Santos. All rights reserved.