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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Short Story: September

September 2001          
Natasha Telfair


            “Everything looks great Katie.  The baby is growing and doing well.  You are not dilated yet so we will see you back next week.  Did you have any questions for me?” said Dr. Kim.
“I have been having problems sleeping lately.  Is that this stage of pregnancy?”  Katie was a twenty seven year old lawyer about to have her first child.  She had recently moved to live with her fiancée in Orlando as she figured that it would be best to relocate during her maternity leave from the firm.  She was very small framed at 126 pounds and was all baby as she approached her delivery date.  Katie was not ready to select a new obstetrician so she traveled each week to Saint Petersburg and stayed at her condo that she was planning on renting after she delivered the baby.
The condo sat with a clear view of the skyway bridge and was in a very desirable area in Southern Saint Petersburg, Fl.  Her neighbor Lauren was very eccentric and would always greet her with the phrase Today could be the end of the world!  Katie would just smile at her as she passed by with the dream catcher she had created from tin foil and popcorn.  Oddly enough, Lauren was a millionaire with more money than she knew what to do with and had started stargazing a few years earlier; she once was a very normal individual. 
On this particular Tuesday morning Lauren approached Katie with the same saying.  Once again Katie did not think anything of it.  Katie headed over to her usual doctors appointment, following her regular routine.  She left the house thirty minutes early to drive with the rush hour traffic.  She would stop by her post office box to retrieve her mail and then stop for a bacon, egg and cheese croissant from the local diner with a side of ruby red grapefruit juice.  She arrived to the doctor’s office in time to enjoy her sandwich and juice while listening to Steve Harvey’s Strawberry letter.  Today’s letter was about a woman that had been dating a man for the past ten years that had been cheating on her with her best friend.  Katie was amazed with the things people would write in about and want to know if they should stay, many times it was a common sense question but some people will do anything for love.  She shook her head as she exited her car and headed for the doctor’s office.
“I can’t believe how much a world can change in the blink of an eye.  My day started out so normal and now I am in complete shock!”  Katie said to herself as she continued driving in shock as she searched the different radio stations in an attempt to see if this was some type of sick prank.
            Katie was driving along I-4 enjoying the Florida breeze as it brushed her cheekbones as the wind blew her hair.  It was about eighty-four degrees outside and she decided to ride with the convertible top to her Mercedes Benz CLK down as she drove home to Orlando from her doctor’s appointment.  As she drove down I-4 jamming to the local radio station, 93.3, the broadcast was interrupted.   “Planes have crashed into the World Trade Center in New York” said the broadcaster.  Her mind instantly thought of the Orson Welles alien invasion broadcast War of the Worlds which stated Earth was under attack by aliens.  Then she thought of her eccentric neighbor, could this really be the end of the world?  She frantically began changing the stations to see if she was hearing a joke or the truth; each station gave the same information.  Katie grabbed her  cell phone and started calling everyone in a panic.  She was half way to Orlando and did not know whether to turn around or to keep driving home. 
            It seemed as if no one was available.  Katie continued to look from the road to the sky expecting to see a bomb fall, or a fireball, anything out of the ordinary was considered to be possible at this moment.  She finally was able to contact her brother-in-law, who was home on military leave.  The traffic was heavy but was moving at a steady pace.  Kevin, her brother-in-law, confirmed the information was accurate.  Katie looked up in the sky and was expecting to see airplanes and fighter jets to appear from nowhere; she was in a state of shock and had started hyperventilating.  Kevin suggested for her to pull over and get something to drink and calm down to ensure she would arrive safe at home.  Katie kept saying to Kevin, “Breath, breath, Kevin I need to breath.  I don’t want to go into labor on this interstate.  What if they drop a bomb and there is a big hole in road and I can’t go any further? What if it hits me and kills me and the baby?  Oh my God, Oh my God, we are going to die!”
Kevin was able to calm Katie down enough for her to feel safe enough to continue driving home.  Once she exited I-4 and entered the 408 toll she realized there was only three other cars on the road with her.  The toll gate was open and she was able to drive straight through. 
Orange County schools had dismissed early.  She saw her fiancé was home from work.  He and the kids ran out to the car to meet her.  He apologized for not being able to answer her call.  He told her he was at the school picking the kids up and didn’t want to alarm them.  She felt a little calmer once she saw them.  They sat down and talked that night and decided it would be best for Katie to find a local doctor.  Neither felt it was safe enough to drive to Saint Petersburg for doctor’s appointments and something more local would be needed for delivery.  She started searching for a doctor the next day.     
            Their was a local doctor that was around the corner from them.  The doctor had arranged for her to go and take a tour of The Florida Hospital where she would be scheduled for delivery.  The hospital was very nice.  Katie continued to watch the news endlessly in disbelief in regards to the 9-11 attack.
            She started nesting immediately, cleaning and rearranging the house.  One morning as she prepared the kids for departure for school she was feeling so tired.  Her daughter and son where waiting at the bus stop for the bus to come.  The bus came directly in front of the house so she felt that it was safe enough to go lay back down.  As she lay in the bed she heard a noise.
“Who is that”, she yelled out.  Her fiancé laid next to her in such a deep sleep he didn’t even twitch.  No one replied.
 “Who is that?” she yelled out again in a harsher tone.  Still no answer.
“Michael”!  “Michael, is that you in there?”
“Yes” he replied in a soft voice.
 “What the hell are you doing in here when you should be at the bus stop? You better not miss that bus because I am tired and I am not driving to the school today.”
“I had to brush my hair”, he said.
“What?” she yelled.  In that instant Katie jumped up out of the bed and ran to the front of the condo.  He was coming out of his bathroom, She reached out and grabbed him by his red uniform shirt and then she felt something drizzle down her leg..
“You better thank your brother because he just saved you, my water has broke, now get out of here.”
            He ran outside and made it to the bus on time.  She ran into her room and woke up her fiancé. “Baby, its time?”
“Huh?” he said still half sleep.
“It’s time, my water broke”.  He jumped out of the bed, put on some pants both legs at one time, no belt. . 
On September 20, 2001 Katie had her second son, it was bittersweet. She was mourning with America the lost of all the lives of the September 11, 2001 attacks, waiting to see the action we would take, would there be more attacks?  Katie had experienced all of this and gave life while many were still mourning.  They always say you will remember where you were at when something life changing happens and this event changed the lives for all Americans.
           

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