You can read the first portion of the story line here.
…the story continues:
She went to the closet to retrieve her shoes. She bent down and brushed against the blue cocktail dress that had the stunning effect against her blonde hair the night that she and Rick had gone on their first date. Jasmine slowly ran her fingers along the outline of the flowers that ran around the hem. She squared her shoulders and took a deep breath. Confidently, she opened the door of her bedroom and prepared herself for the tide of grievers that washed through her living room.
People clasped her hand and wept. Trance-like, Jasmine solemnly greeted all the mourners. Rick accompanied her to the black vehicle that would take her to the funeral home. She arrived at the home first, and quietly went into the visitation room alone. Jasmine reached the coffin. Steeling herself, she peered into the coffin. Jasper lay there with a humble and satisfied look on his face.
“Jasper,” Jasmine breathed. “You didn’t have to rescue me. But thank you.” She could say no more. Quietly, she closed the lid of the coffin, though she knew it would be opened again for public visitation. She made her way back to the door. Almost tip-toeing for fear any noise would disturb her husband.
As the miles swiftly passed behind them, Jasmine had all she could do to control herself from crying out to Rick to turn the car around, go back home. The pain in her abdomen seemed to come every few minutes now. How can it be I’m only 30-years-old and healthy, her mind screamed over and over. She needed to stop, had to find a place to lie down for awhile, maybe that would make the pain go away. “Let’s stop, honey, at the next rest stop.”
“Why?” Rick asked. “We shouldn’t stop; we’ve got to get to the place.” Ah the place, Jasmine thinks. Her only escape from reality. How could he do it? He had really truly loved her, and how had she repaid him? By letting him die, right before her eyes. If she hadn’t been so selfish, they could have been together, right now. Sipping cool drinks on the back porch at their home. Home. Will she ever see it again? How could she even bare it? She thought she loved Jasper, but had she really?
“Please, Rick. Let’s stop!” she said urgently.
He sensed the panic beginning to creep into her voice and stopped to pull over. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
She chuckled darkly. “What’s wrong? What’s wrong?? How can you even ask that? I just saw my husband in a casket! What do you think is wrong? I want to go home!” Jasmine wailed.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Rick started.
“Good idea? What is a good idea then? Hmm?” she screeched.
“Relax. You will always miss him but you have to accept his passing. I know that’s a lot to ask so soon, but please try to be happy that he is in a better place. He knew what he was doing when he saved you. He would absolutely never regret it. He loved you.” Rick said. That brought her up short.
“Yeah, but I’m starting to wonder if I loved him back,” she whispered quietly.
“C’mon, Jasmine, you gotta calm down,” Rick implored. “You’re not even making sense right now.”
“Yes, I am!” Jasmine quickly retorted, mildly irritated by the insensitivity of his remark.
“No, my dear, I can assure you, you’re not!”
“Hon, I hate to break it to you, but you just stated plain as day that you saw your husband in his casket!”
“That’s right, you called your dapper ole dad, Jasper, your HUSBAND! I kid you not. Wish I were.” At this point Rick reached out and grabbed hold of Jasmine’s clammy, cold hands and in a soothing, yet emphatic tone exclaimed. “He was your father. I am your husband.”
Rick was certain that this momentary lapse of reason had to be attributed to post traumatic stress, and really, he couldn’t fault her. Who’s to say how he would have fared if he came face to face with his own mortality, only to realize that the very person who saved him from imminent death was his own father, whose sheer act of bravery and courage led to his own demise. The relationship his wife had with her father, Rick concluded, was tumultuous in the best of times. So much water under the bridge, and so much left unsaid. He couldn’t even begin to imagine the complexity of emotions running through her.
Jasper was no pussy cat, that’s for sure. Nor was he father of the year. And young Jasmine was never daddy’s little girl. Jasmine used to blame herself for this. It took years to come to terms with the fact that Jasper was the problem, not her. He simply was ill-equipped and lacked the tools necessary to be a good father or decent spouse for that matter.
Jasmine chuckled, as she thought to herself, “isn’t it ironic that my selfish lout of a father, who never displayed a degree of altruism, might have committed, as his last earthly effort, the most selfless act imaginable. Hmm…. that’s one for the record books…or my book!”
As Jasmine reflected on her father’s life, she began to understand. Jasper had done his best. Yes, he had not been the best father, but considering his shattered childhood, the years of poverty and deprivation, he had survived. He had said, “Write my story.” Would she have the courage to write his story?]]>
…the story continues:
Jasmine found herself awake in a hospital bed, with nothing but the memory of Drake and the boy flashing through her mind. Then the pain started setting in, from her toes up into her hips, and tingling up her spine. The excruciating headache was the least of her worries right now, she had to yell for help or push the button by her right hand, but she couldn’t reach it, and why weren’t her fingers moving? Why couldn’t she scream for help? Then a familiar face came to her side.
“Mom, what happened?” Jasmine’s mind spoke, but no words came out. She could see her mother’s excitement when she entered the room, overjoyed to see her daughter’s sparkling emerald eyes… but Jasmine couldn’t understand why her words weren’t flowing through her lips. Her mother screamed for a nurse to come and they both were overjoyed at the sight of Jasmine’s gaze. The nurse hurriedly paged the doctor and started tending to Jasmine. She started explaining to her that she shouldn’t worry right now, that everything was going to be okay, that she will be able to learn how to speak and walk again, that the accident caused some damage to her brain, but it would heal… the accident! Now it was coming back to her: Drake and that adorable little boy, and the van coming around the corner, and then…nothing! All she could remember is running towards the boy and then it all went black! She again tried screaming, and again nothing.
As tears started streaming down her face, the doctor examined her, and kept talking with her mother about what to expect now that she was awake. For Jasmine, it was like laying and pretending to be asleep while you listened to others talk about you. Then the moment that would change her life forever happened — right there in front of her was Drake and the most beautiful little boy she had ever seen. And then she noticed those beautiful emerald eyes that had looked so familiar to her before, and again the tears started falling.
Jasmine wanted to speak, wanted to tell this gorgeous man and child who she was and how she knew that little boy. He was 4-years-old now, and she remembered the day he was born like it was yesterday. The adoption wasn’t her idea, but she knew it was the best choice she had in the situation, and her heart was tangled up in caring for her mother. Oh how she had dreamed of this child, wondering if he would have her eyes or red hair, would he be sweet and shy, or play baseball and have all the friends in the world. And now here he was, right at her bedside, and she couldn’t even hug him, hold his hand, or tell him “I love you.” Jasmine’s heart was breaking all over again.
She remembered details. Odd details flashed through her mind as she raced in seeming slow motion toward the boy. The sidewalk was cracked, erupting upward where ancient Leland Cypress roots had forced their way through the concrete, a faint WPA logo still visible. She grabbed the boy’s chubby left upper arm, Red Power Ranger T-shirt bunching in her right hand. She yanked hard, the surprised boy tumbling and falling behind her, crying out as the minivan braked and then accelerated, missing them both by inches. She stumbled over the cracked sidewalk, could hear the scream of brakes, the collective gasp of the pedestrians. Momentum carried her into the street. Just before the left front quarter panel of the ice cream truck struck her full in the chest she noted the lettering on the side, “Happy Times Ice Cream – Our Buddies Are The Nuttiest.”
The pain of the crash was unbearable at the moment. She could vaguely remember the child tumbling across the pavement, on account of her last-minute actions. Then, after that, everything went black. Yet, at the brief moment of the pain, she was perfectly fine. She somehow awoke to the days of when she was a little girl, and reliving all of the good memories stored in her head. Then, what seemed like hours later, she awoke to a gorgeous man sitting at the foot of her bed. His eyes shimmered as she recalled three years ago to that sweltering summer day.
Editor’s Note: This is where this thread ended. Where will Rick enter to ultimately drive a sleeping Jasmine home? We leave that to you.]]>
…the story continues:[...]]]>
…the story continues:
Rick shuddered as he considered his wife’s long and often strenuous relationship with his mother. He recalled one wedding anniversary dinner when they were young and still renting a one-bedroom apartment above the butcher store downtown. He smiled as the image of his exquisite young bride setting three places at the small round table in their tiny kitchen. She was breathtakingly beautiful, even as the roast was burning and she did not take his teasing about Chinese takeout too well. Of course, the senior Mrs. Blake was obligated to point out that maybe Jasmine should invest in some culinary lessons. After all they would have a family someday and she had best learn how to prepare meals that won’t endanger their lives.
When Rick had successfully managed to steer the conversation away from the ruined meal, they moved to the small secondhand sofa in the living room and waited for pizza delivery. While mother hadn’t made a secret of her desire to be a grandmother, this was an opportune moment for her to apply the pressure. Sure, they wanted children. They had absolutely had been trying since the wedding night. It just wasn’t happening. They had been to the doctors — there was nothing physiologically wrong with either of them. When it was meant to be, it would be. The discussion had turned into a heated debate very quickly, and mother’s implication that Jasmine’s reproductive abilities were as weak as her cooking skills sent his wife into the bedroom in tears.
As Rick turned to Jasmine, he whispered to her, “Baby, our daughter will live because this woman donated her kidney. I hope we can forgive her.” Then Jasmine opened her eyes and was trying to utter a word…
Baby? We have a baby? That was all that coursed through Jasmine’s mind. Her voice would not concede to the demand of her brain to speak. She tried with all her might to speak, but she could not hear herself, and apparently neither could Rick. He looked into her eyes for what seemed like forever. What is he talking about our baby will live because a woman donated a kidney? Jasmine felt so weak and overwhelmed that she finally gave into her exhaustion and closed her eyes and fell asleep again. As confusing and troubling as Rick’s comment had been, Jasmine would just have to deal with it later, when she awoke again. If she could remember what he told her before she dozed off.
Jasmine surfaced again slowly, bright images swimming before her. Finally, one she recognized: Rick sleeping in a chair nearby. Confusion once again took hold. Where was she? Why is Rick sleeping over there? She attempted to try and sit, but did not have the strength. With great effort she croaked “Rick?” She longed for his touch and the assurance that he was truly real. “Babe,” he said cautiously and reached for her hand. Jasmine’s heart soared. He saw the questions in her eyes. Rick said softly, “You are in the hospital, remember?” “Hospital?” she whispered. As she said it the last conversation flooded into her brain. “Baby, okay now?” she asked as she tried holding on to his hand tighter. Rick nodded, “She’s in ICU, but we have to wait and see that the kidney is functioning properly.”
He waited as she processed the words. “What h-happened to us?” she whispered weakly a tear falling slowly. How do I tell her it was serious accident involving two vehicles and nearly killed all the people I love? As he started to say “It was an accident,” he noticed she’d once again slipped into exhausted sleep.
Jasmine awoke with the fear shuddering through her body. Why couldn’t she recall what had put her in this hospital bed? When her droopy eyes finally stretched fully awake she saw an image familiar to her. Her Rick sleeping in a chair somewhat similar to the one they had in their living room near the TV set. Another thought popped in her head. Hadn’t she just been at home getting dressed? She slowly opened her mouth only to remember the tube that the doctor had removed had left a painful feeling of emptiness in her throat. Her lips let out a squeak noise, which made Rick move out his chair and over to her. He grabbed her frigid cold hand and began stroking her forehead. “Baby can you still remember where you are?” Sadly she couldn’t. She shook her head and painfully pouted her lips.
“Baby, let me explain. Our baby needed a kidney transplant and your mom wasn’t a match. But my mother was, so she offered hers.” The thought of her baby struggling sent a shock of pain through her. Another feeling about her mother-in-law flew through her at the same time. She had never been fond of her but what she did made Jasmine indebted to her for the rest of her life. Jasmine gripped Rick’s hand tighter as if to say she was okay with it and felt the painkillers calling her back to sleep again.
Jasmine fell into a deep sleep, dreaming only of a healthy baby lying against her full breasts. The euphoria that she felt, filling her newborn baby’s body with life-giving nutrients was the maternal connection that she longed for with her own mother. She never felt the close bond that a mother and child should share.
Edith knew that Jasmine was awake even though she couldn’t lift her head off the pillow. She knew she saved the sweet baby’s life. Her granddaughter, Edith Louise — named after her! She was so pleased when Rick agreed with her suggestion of a name. After all, she was the one to give her a kidney. Edith remembered the day Jasmine said if the baby was a girl it would be named Megan, thinking at the time that everyone would always wonder how to spell Megan. Would it be Meghan, Meagan, or what? No, Edith was a much better name for her new and only grandchild. She listened carefully as Rick told Jasmine they had a baby girl, Edith Louise, named after his mom.
Jasmine circled her eyes very slowly around the sterile hospital room, unable to respond to the conversations regarding her baby and her future. It was as though she was trying to scream and nobody could hear her. Rick looked into her blank stare trying to interpret any minute expression that would indicate her understanding of what was going on around her, but she only lay listless and unable to respond. Edith was not the name that she wanted her child to be branded with for the rest of her life, only her voice could not be heard; she was trapped inside a body helpless and alone.
“What was the baby girl’s name? Does she have a name?” she wondered. She tried to focus on the happy, yet vague memories of her pregnancy. She calmed herself down concentrating on these precious snapshots; searching for the right crib, ultrasound appointments with Rick, and even arguing over what to name the baby seemed like a breeze compared to this.
Jasmine vacillated in and out of consciousness trying to make sense of the chaos that was surrounding her hospital bed. She experienced brief moments of clarity, only to become exhausted and slip back into a deep sleep. Rick was trying to control all of negativity that encompassed those four walls, but not one person was sensitive to Jasmine’s fragile state of mind. Rick knew that he was indebted to Edith for her sacrifice in saving his child, but Jasmine’s and the baby’s recoveries were of the utmost importance now. Everything else was secondary to his determination at saving the only woman that he ever really loved.
Rick followed the nurse out into the hallway. “Could you let Dr. Drake know that I’d like to speak to him, privately, maybe in his office?”
Rick wanted to speak to Dr. Drake about what he perceived as a decline in Jasmine’s recovery. She continued to lapse into deep sleep and when she awoke seemed more unable to focus than ever. She was not trying to speak any longer. How he longed to hear her voice. She had not even seen Edith yet! What would it do to Jasmine once she finally became more lucid and understood the impact of his mother’s donation of the kidney that had saved Edith?
As dusk crept through the windows that lined Jasmine’s room, Rick sat quietly by her bedside, holding her hand to his lips kissing it ever so gently. They were now alone with only the monitors beeping as a constant reminder of her present condition. He spoke to her in a quiet whisper, “Jasmine, I love you with all of my heart, please don’t leave me.” She lay sleeping peacefully as her husband continued to talk to her as if she were responding to all of his pleas. There was a sense of peacefulness in the room now that everyone was gone, and Rick had an overwhelming flush of emotions, as if a voice was telling him that everything would be alright. He stood up out of the chair that he was sitting in, kissed Jasmine on the forehead, and promised her that he would return shortly. Rick walked briskly out of the room to the fourth floor of the hospital, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and found his way to his precious little girl’s crib.
For a moment his eyes just simply stared at the face of his daughter. She had great blue eyes the color of midnight skies, the kind he could stare into for the rest of his life. “I’m a father,” he repeated to himself slowly, trying to make the words register in his brain with no success. Almost as if his baby girl sensed his stress, she turned her soft face towards his. A sigh of relief came through his lungs that the world could change for the both of them.
There were so many unanswered questions now. What if Jasmine could never walk again? What if she could not care for her own child? And what would he be left with in regards to her mental capabilities. Rick analyzed every possible scenario, as he continued to pace up and down the halls for what felt like several hours. He finally landed back in the chair next to Jasmine’s bedside, cupped his face between his palms and let the tears flow freely until he felt a gentle tap on his shoulder. It was Dr. Drake.
Dr. Drake kept his hand cupped on Rick’s shoulder, he had a wife and children too, and couldn’t imagine losing them, nor could he imagine the emotional pain that Rick must be feeling. He walked over to Jasmine’s bedside, pulled out his stethoscope to listen to her heart and the pattern of her breathing; he simultaneously studied the monitors that recorded how her body was progressing. He removed the stethoscope from his ears and looked up at Rick, “You know that the longer that she floats in and out of consciousness the more concern we have in regards to long term brain damage. Her heart and lungs sound very strong. Now we just need her to stay awake long enough to evaluate her brain activity and just how much damage has been done. The degree of her head injury is hard to calculate. I will order the tests for this afternoon, and I think that you should go home and try to get some sleep. By the way, the baby is doing fabulous; her body is accepting the new kidney. I will keep you posted,” he said and walked out the door. Rick was speechless and exhausted; he laid his head on Jasmine’s bed.
Jasmine woke up to see tears swimming in Rick’s eyes. Were there tears of happiness, fear or deception she wondered. She heard him say that they had a sweet baby girl and he named her Edith Louise after his mom because she saved her life. Saved her life how? Jasmine gave away to the pain medication and slipped into slumber.
The next time Jasmine awakened, she was weak but completely focused on what Rick had to say. “Honey, so much has happened over the last several weeks, I don’t quite know where to begin. I was so frightened that I would lose you forever.” Rick wrapped his arms around Jasmine pressing her body into his chest; tears flowed down his cheeks onto her long blonde hair. It was as though a dam had ruptured, he could not control the flood of emotions that flowed from his body, nor did he want to. Rick felt like his body would burst from suppressing his feelings, in his attempt at maintaining a supernatural strength for the woman in his life that he loved more than anything.
The nurse walked into the room with the baby swaddled in a pink blanket, I just want to let you know that we found our baby. She was with your mother in a very quiet corner of the hospital, but it is imperative that someone emphasize the importance of checking with a staff member before she decides to remove the baby from the nursery. Jasmine was furious by now, and tried to get up from her bed, Rick grabbed her shoulder’s reassuring her that this would not happen again.
The nurse very calmly laid baby Edith in Jasmine’s arms, and said, “don’t let her feel your stress, she needs your love, and to feel that she is in a safe environment, take a couple of deep breaths.” Jasmine looked into her baby’s sky blue eyes and her heart very quickly began to melt, she felt all of the anger diminish and replaced by a beautiful peace. There was not a single thing that would ever come between her and this child, of this she was certain.
“Jasmine?” said a subtle voice. Jasmine turned her head and saw the woman that made her life miserable. It was as though Edith knew that Jasmine was in a vulnerable position, she could not stand on her own so there was no threat of her chasing her out of the room. Rick observed his mother’s passive aggressiveness that he always justified as just being a concerned mother. Now he felt Jasmine’s frustration and knew that unless he put a stop to it, Edith would ruin his marriage.
Jasmine sat up very straight in her bed as to ward off a predator, she maintained a controlled and pleasant demeanor, looked across the room at the woman that she despised and said, “Good morning, Edith, it is great to see you are doing so well.” Her mother-in-law wasn’t as amicable: “Jasmine dear, now that you will be so limited in your ability to care for our darling baby Edith, I think that you should consider my moving in with you and Rick.”
Both Rick and Jasmine’s faces lost every bit of color, as if something had sucked the life right out of their bodies. They were speechless. As if a power had come over Jasmine’s body now putting the right words in her mouth, she looked at Edith very calmly and said, “Absolutely not. We will be just fine. I will start my physical therapy in two weeks, and Rick has arranged to take some time off of work to help me until I am able to handle this myself, which I have no doubt that I will. You are welcome to visit once a week, but we really do need our time to adjust to all of the changes that we have had to deal with.” Jasmine felt at peace standing up to her witch of a mother-in-law.
Edith looked at Rick. “Are you really going to allow her to talk to me like this after I gave your child a kidney? If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t have a baby, and now I’m only allowed to see her once a week?”
Again Jasmine looked Edith straight in her eyes and said, “When you learn to respect me and my boundaries and stop treating me with arrogance and insults then maybe we will begin to have a healthy relationship. Know that more than anything I appreciate you saving our child’s life, but she is your grandchild as well, she is not something to be used to get your way. Grow up, Edith, and stop trying to control everything and everyone in your life. You will never make me feel guilty that you saved your granddaughter’s life, nor will you ever make me feel indebted to you. When you learn to give without expecting anything in return you will be a much happier woman.” Rick sat speechless as he watched his mother storm out of the room in tears, but he knew that Jasmine was 100-percent right.
In two weeks, Jasmine made an exponential recovery. She was so excited that she was walking the entire length of the hospital corridor with the assistance of her walker. Her legs were very weak, but she was determined to prove Edith wrong. She would definitely be able to care for her precious daughter with the help of Rick. Dr. Drake and the neonatal nurse walked into her room with baby Edith swaddled in her pink blanket with smiles covering their faces. Dr. Drake held both of Jasmine’s hands and said, “the time has come for you to go home. We’re elated with your amazing recovery — you are one lucky girl.”
The nurse handed Rick the baby, while she packed Jasmine’s belongings. Dr. Drake wished them farewell. Assisted by the nurse, they signed all of the release papers and took the elevator to the ground floor. Rick went for the Mercedes while Jasmine sat waiting with the baby in her wheelchair. The sun was shining so brightly against the blue sky, The Mercedes purred like a kitten while crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Rick pulled the car into the driveway of their bungalow. Silently gazing at the two women in his life, a tear trickled down his cheek. Jasmine was just falling asleep when the car stopped, and Rick whispered, “We’re home.”
“Jasmine Blake thought she understood what love meant until the day she almost died.”
Reality seemed to stand still for Jasmine. Did I fall, or was I in a car crash? Hello. Can anyone hear me? I know I am talking! Jasmine thought while trying desperately to move. Nothing. A lone teardrop slowly made its way down her right cheek, a last call for someone to know she is still alive.
Rick immediately saw the teardrop and hurriedly called for the nurses. He wanted them to see what he had been telling them all along: She was aware of them. “Jasmine. I am here, baby girl. I am holding your hand.”
Rick. Oh yes, Rick, I can hear you. Don’t stop talking, please don’t stop talking. Jasmine knew she wasn’t talking, she was answering with her thoughts. Please tell me what is going on Rick! Her mind was screaming out the sentences!
“Jasmine, you are in a trauma hospital, your hips are shattered and both your legs are broken. The doctors have given you something so you can’t move. Oh hear me and understand. I love you!”
From the corner of his wife’s hospital room, Rick watched as the doctor and nurse assessed his Jasmine’s vital signs and all those monitors that were attached to her. He wanted them to see what he had seen, life signs from Jasmine. A single teardrop, a sign of life.
His mind wandered back to the time they had met at a Christmas dinner for the needy at the local church. He was trying to slice a turkey, but he noticed that she was watching him, which made him nervous and he nearly dropped the whole turkey on the floor. Jasmine laughed out loud at the scene at the same time grabbing for the turkey. They both saved the turkey from the floor.
“Mr. Blake,” said Jasmine’s doctor, turning toward Rick.
“Yes. Did you find anything?”
“You were right, Mr. Blake.” The doctor stated matter of factly. “There is a positive response to my assessment. If she remains stabilized, I will start taking her off the paralyzing treatment so she can start moving her arms. If she responds well, I will start decreasing her time on the respirator. These next few weeks are critical; she will need all her family and friends’ support that is possible. Talk to her in a normal conversation, she won’t be able to respond right away, she has been under for two weeks. She will be weak and probably, to a certain extent she will be confused about dates, times, people and events. She might not even remember what exactly happened to her.”
As the doctor leaves the room, Rick tries to comprehend what he has just told him. He rises from the chair and sits on the bed next to Jasmine. “Baby, I know you can do this. Just stay strong and remember that I love you with all of my heart. I have loved you from the first time that I spotted you with those tight blue jeans and black tank top and beautiful blue eyes. You have touched my soul in ways that you don’t even know. I need you to touch my soul again and come out of this okay. I love you always and forever.” Rick holds Jasmine’s hand in his and kisses it. He closes his eyes. He opens them and notices that Jasmine is moving her eyes. Rick hurriedly gets up from his wife’s bed and gets the doctor.
As Jasmine was listening to the doctors throw out medical terminology that she could not quite understand, her thoughts went back to one particular day. It was the day she told Rick that she was pregnant.
Pregnant. Was I pregnant? Jasmine fought with her limited memory. She was in a panic; she could not remember ever having a child. The respirator began to sound an alarm, she was fighting the machine. Nurses and respiratory therapists ran into the room. Immediately they began to talk to Jasmine to calm her down and at the same time systematically checking all the monitors. This was the scene Rick walked into after returning from lunch.
“A baby” she said aloud. “We’re going to have our baby.” She remembered dancing around the kitchen, holding her arms around her belly, waiting for Rick to get home. But Rick didn’t come home, not till 10 o’clock that night. She’d fallen asleep on the couch, with a book of baby names open on her face. He looked at the book and smiled as he tried to kiss her awake. “You did it this time,” she sat up. “I’m pregnant! You are going to be a Daddy! And me, Mommy.”
Rick looked at her, his eyes swelled with pride as he picked her up off the couch and kissed her hard. “I love you so much.”
The thought of becoming a mother caused Jasmine to reflect on unconditional love. It felt so true, so right, so familiar. She fumbled around in her purse for a tissue and cried. Drake used to get so excited when she reached in her purse for his leash. That’s when she remembered.
Days ran into one another, weeks past by, Jasmines’s memory was slowly coming into focus. She was remembering telling Rick about becoming a Daddy, but how many years had passed. She was having trouble putting her memories into their proper places. So many people had stood by her bedside telling her who they were, what their day had been like, reading to her, reciting poetry, and playing music. So much information she couldn’t remember it all, she was so tired.
Jasmine tried reaching to feel her belly, but could not move her arms. “My baby, what happened to our baby?” she wanted to shout when Rick walked into the room. Has it been so many years? Or was it recent? Jasmine had so many questions racing through her head. Then she remembered the moment when the doctor told them the sex of the baby.
Jasmine suddenly awoke, or at least she thought she had been asleep. She was hearing an alarm of some kind in the distance. People were talking. Then someone said, “Jasmine. We are going to pull this tube out of your throat. You will feel a tug in the throat area. You might feel like you are choking. When we pull the tube out you will start coughing, that is normal. I am your doctor, Dr. Reuben Drake. I am pulling out the tube… now.”
Jasmine felt like a log had been pulled from her throat. She jerked and began a coughing fit that led her to gag and have dry heaves. She tried to put her weakened and shaky hands to her mouth, but her arms were to weak. Her lips were dry. A nurse leaned over Jasmine and told her that she would clean off the sticky tape residue that had held the tube in place and that she would put something on her lips. Then Dr. Drake explained her throat would be sore and she should try not to talk today. Her throat was dry. She tried to swallow then coughed some more. Another nurse offered her some ice chips, telling her to suck on them very slowly so that she would not start coughing and inhale the chips. She did as she was instructed.
Rick waited outside Jasmine’s hospital room, all kinds of horrible medical scenarios racing in his mind about what could happen when the doctor pulled out the breathing tube. He shook his head as if to sling out the awful thoughts. He heard his named called, and turned toward the voice as the nurse was telling him it was alright for him to come in to see his wife.
He hesitated, it had been three weeks since he last seen Jasmine without a tube in her mouth. He knew she would be asleep, Dr. Drake had told him it would be better for her to get some sleep after the tube withdrawal. He was concerned that Jasmine might try to talk to her husband and panic when she found it difficult to speak. Rick agreed with the doctor, although he was so anxious to hear her voice. Hearing her voice would mean Jasmine was back.
Jasmine was eight months pregnant when she was in a horrific wreck that caused her to be in a coma. Her husband, Rick, was notified and would catch the next flight. The baby boy was taken from her body, but needed a kidney transplant immediately or he would not live. Jasmine’s mother wasn’t a match, but Rick’s mom matched and donated her kidney. As Jasmine’s condition worsened, so did Rick’s mother’s. Rick arrived to find the two women he loved in the same room. Jasmine was unaware that her worst enemy saved her baby.
How will Rick break the news to Jasmine? Tell us how you think it will play out…]]>
“Jasmine Blake thought she understood what love meant until the day she almost died.”
It hit her, when she awoke to the steady beat that was emanating from the EKG monitor.
And when she woke up with this massive pain in her head. She tried to sit up and she looked down. She soon realized, that her escape from reality, had been taken away from her.
When she looked up, she saw that Jasper was still there. Jasper who was once so neat and tidy, so well-groomed, immaculate in his Savile Row suits, now a shadow of his former self. His breaths were almost like sighs, shallow and almost without substance and yet he was trying to ask her if she was okay.
This was the man who everyone thought a loser, and in so many ways he was but, after the sacrifice he had just made for her, Jasmine knew with an inner certainty that fate had brought them together, to this moment in time, and what she had always thought of as love was nothing more than a transient emotion based on mutual longing. And now she saw clearly. What Jasper had done was born of that love which is truly selfless, and he had done it for her!
She watched over him as he was taking his last breaths. She begged him not to leave her. He summoned his last strength to say these words, “I love you, Babe. I have to leave you now. You like to write stories, write mine. When you reach the end you will understand the depths of true love. Now, promise me, Babe.”
“I promise Dad.”
And then, like an inaudible wind, he was gone. … She shared her tears with the silence and then realized that her life will never be the same again.
As she slowly opened her eyes, the memories slowly started to creep back into her mind. Today was the day she had been dreading for nearly a week now. She glanced at the photo on the dressing table and nearly burst into tears as she touched it softly with her fingertips. They had been such a happy couple, but now everything was changed and nothing would ever be the same or would it? Did he blame her for it, she wondered. Rick slowly opened the bedroom door to find her staring at the photo. “It’s time to get ready,” he whispered. “The funeral home will be here soon.”
Jasmine never understood why certain things happened in life. Why one person slips into death’s grip as another lives their life with no consequences. What she did know was life should never leave you without a soul mate.
Jasmine dragged herself out of bed and in a solemn mood; she took out her favorite black dress from the closet and slipped into it. She walked over to the mirror on her vanity and stared at herself for a long moment, wondering how she was going to make it through the day.
What will Jasmine do next? You tell us…]]>
“Jasmine Blake thought she understood what love meant until the day she almost died.”
A cold droplet of rain fell from the car’s cracked sunroof and splashed down on Jasmine’s cheek, waking her from her daze. Dusk began to set over the woods and she tried to yell for help one more time. Her voice cracked and squeaked, instead. She couldn’t even lift her hands to wipe the liquid from her face, which was steadily becoming more and more streaked with water and crimson bands that drained down to her lips, leaving a metallic taste in her mouth. She was too weak, too tired.
The six-hour fight with the boulder pinning her between the driver’s seat and her car door had drained most of her energy. And she knew she wasn’t going to be able to stay awake much longer. As her vision blurred and dizziness washed over her body, she closed her eyes and let herself go. She let herself dream—even a dream of her love with Drake. She wanted to remember something good, anything good, so she thought of the first time they’d met. It seemed so long ago, a lifetime. And as blackness enveloped her, she saw his smile again.
When she awoke again, everything was hazy. She tried to open her eyes and focus, but the pain in her forehead was too great.
She fell unconscious and awoke to find herself 19 again and living back in Arkansas with her disabled mother, absent father and a pile of bills that just never ceased to diminish. Jasmine was one of the unlucky girls that was born into a life of a debt, a debt that would be the barrier from her college education and a dream of a better life outside the empty Arkansas skies.
At 19, she was working at the local Dairy Queen and had her mother’s disability checks that barely got them by. The young girl learned at an early age that nothing would ever come easy to her. That was until she met Drake.
The first thing she noticed about him was his stride. He strolled across the street, holding the hand of a hyperactive toddler who was chattering away.
“Uncle Drake,” he chanted, “I want ice cream!”
“That’s where we’re going, buddy!” Drake exclaimed just as excitedly. The boy giggled and jumped up and down, and Drake swooped him up in a swift motion.
Jasmine witnessed this whole scene from outside the Dairy Queen. She was on her break with a co-worker named Mindy or Michele; Jasmine could never remember which. It didn’t matter at this point, as her eyes were glued to the charming man who had just planted his feet on the same sidewalk as she.
Before Jasmine could open the door for them, the bell of the ice-cream man chimed. The toddler noticed this before anyone else, and broke away from his uncle’s grip. He darted into the busy intersection in pursuit of a delicious treat, just as a minivan was quickly turning the corner.
Before she could think twice, Jasmine ran after the boy.
Flushed, rosy cheeks swelled up and hollowed out as his eyes bored into the side of the truck. It seemed as if to him, nothing existed but the sweet, cold taste of ice cream on a hot summer day.
Not having enough time to process the strange motherly feeling she had for this child, or even the think about her own mother waiting at home for her, she ran for this nameless youth. Finally next to him, her arm stretched out protectively – as if she could stop the minivan from swerving their way with sheer willpower.
What happens next? It’s up to you…]]>
In the next three blog posts, we provide the Editors Picks of the three story “threads” with the most participation. We invite readers to continue to progress the stories until we get to the last sentence Sparks provided, on April 20.
If you have any questions on how you can add to the story, you can find details here.