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Fiction Drama Sad

(This piece contains sensitive material that may be triggering to some readers. Readers discrestion is advised)

My social media feed has been clogged with horrible images of hurricanes and wildfires for the past week. More devastating, senseless shootings are taking place in public venues and even elementary schools. My stomach churns with the thought of my nine-year-old daughter, Brenna, having to grow up in a world full of such madness. As a kid in the early nineties, I never worried much about the school bully once I got home to safety. Within those four walls, those mean kids on the playground didn’t matter anymore. Now, kids today don’t have that kind of reassurance that we did before social media and smartphones became a thing. My sweet Brenna, at just nine years old, is now being cyberbullied. 

Cyberbullying? I had no idea what that even was and had to Google it to find out. My throat tightened, tears pricking my eyes as I read the definition on my computer screen. Why do people feel as if they must go to such lengths to hurt others? And now they’re doing it over instant messaging? I’ve been lying in bed next to my husband, Asher, for the past hour now, doomscrooling, another term I wasn’t familiar with until just recently. I’m only thirty - four years old, but I sound ancient. The soft floral sheets rustle gently by my side as my other half and soulmate pull me against his hard, warm chest. 

“Get some sleep, my love,” he says in a low, sleepy tone of voice before taking the phone from my hand. The bright light from the screen provides a healthy glow in the darkened room before Ash turns it off. He sets it on the nightstand next to the bed, kissing my cheek. I’m secretly jealous of my big strong husband. Asher’s been a firefighter for the past ten years since we first tied the knot, and he loves his job. He’s so incredibly brave; I don’t understand how he can just run inside burning buildings with such abandoned. Somehow knowing he’s going to be alright and come out with a scratch. 

I, on the other hand, worry too much about everything under the sun. I just can’t seem to turn my brain off sometimes. My mind drifts to the orange plastic bottle of anxiety medication sitting on the bathroom sink with my name printed in black and white on the label. Take 7mg a day to keep all of your horrible thoughts at bay. 

“Samantha,” Asher says quietly, his lips moving swiftly against my earlobe. He tightens his hold around my waist before planting a sweet kiss against the back of my neck. 

“I can’t help it, Ash. There are so many bad things happening everywhere to so many people, and my next thought is, what if something happens to Brenna while she’s at school? What if the bullying is too much and she hurts herself, or worse? What if you don’t make it out of a fire, and I’m left to care for Brenna alone?” My mind spins like an out-of-control carousel, and I just want to scream, LET ME OFF! Tears spill from my hazel eyes and pool in the crook of my arm. I can feel the large king mattress dip from beside me as my husband’s massive frameshifts a little to the left. 

“Come here, Sam. Come here,” he says and pulls me next to him, picking me up like a doll and sitting me in his lap. I wrap my arms around his shoulders, burying my face into his neck. The smell of cologne mixing with his fragrant shampoo makes my stomach burst with butterflies. My body instantly relaxes, and we ease into a mellow rocking motion as he shifts me back and forth in his embrace. These are the times that I need to remember. The intimate but tender way my husband holds me. The feel of his kiss against my cheek. The beautiful, childlike sound of my daughter’s laughter from the backyard. 

“Feel better?” he asks in a low, husky tone, and I nod my answer. Then, looking up at Asher through thick lashes, I smile. 

“You are the glue that holds me together, babe. What would I do without you?” His piercing green eyes find mine through the dark as he stares at me. 

“Samantha Rose, you are so much stronger than you think you are. You’re a nurse. You’ve seen some gnarly things that I’m sure were less than desirable. You help so many people daily, having to make snap decisions about another human life on the cuff. Yet, you still somehow manage that gorgeous smile that I love to see every day,” Asher says, leaning down to press a kiss to my forehead. The next day is a little better; I do my best not to fall into the pitfalls of my anxiety and buy into all of the horrible things I see in the news and on social media. It’s only adding fuel to my already out of control fire. 

I’m working the maternity floor today, which isn’t often, but I’m happy to be up here. It’s a nice break from the hectic chaos. Though it’s a different type of chaos in the beginning, later, a gorgeous new baby is brought into the world as a result. After hours spent with a first-time mom as she labored alone, I was able to watch her handsome baby boy come into the world kicking and screaming like a champ. 

“He’s beautiful,” I say as I hand him to her, bundled in a cozy blue blanket. She smiles at me and fusses over his tiny little knit cap that every newborn receives after making their grand debut. I didn’t ask why she was alone in the delivery room with no one there as a means of support. Finally, though, something told me that she owned a certain kind of peace that assured her she and her baby boy would be okay regardless. The newscaster gives more updates about more wildfires in California and raging wars overseas on the drive home. My hands tighten around the steering wheel as I continue to worry about the things that I simply can’t control. 

Pulling into the driveway, I pull out my phone for a few minutes to have some alone time before walking into the house. Yet again, the more political news about who’s side is better. More anger-fueled videos of angry customers verbally assaulting wait staff and retail workers. Negativity is spreading like those wildfires on the West Coast. Enough, Samantha. Put the phone down and go inside to enjoy your family. Enjoy your life. 

After going inside and dropping my keys on the kitchen counter, the unmistakable sounds of my little girl sound from the back yard as she and her daddy jump on the trampoline. The thought of my 6-foot tall husband, weighing in at a whopping 200 pounds of pure muscle and strength, jumping alongside our daughter. Asher would probably rocket Brenna to the moon if he jumped high enough. My phone vibrates with yet another news alert, but the sounds of my daughter’s voice drown out the negative sounds of the peanut gallery. 

“Mommy! Come and jump with us!” Brenna calls, and I smile, turning my phone off and slipping out of the back door. Watching my little girl and husband having the time of their lives. I've finally found my hope in the madness.

October 15, 2021 07:24

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