NOTE: This is an on-going story (in ten parts) entitled "The Blizzard Coat." To become more familiar with this entry, be sure to read back posts that entail earlier "parts."
The trees along the roads were coated in icicles that seemed to grow by the minute. Jane's husband, Peter, drove the minivan through town, but no matter how careful he was, he still slid at stop signs and when he had to hit the gas pedal. As Annalie stared out the window, anxiously biting her nails, Peter would mumble about snow tires and other people's lack of driving skills. They were all on edge as the hospital drew closer.
The rest of the family waited anxiously at the house. Annalie's mother held Mason as they rushed into their coats and down the driveway that night. Even now they had no information. Annalie bit her fingers raw from her perch on the padded wooden chair of the waiting room. Jane paced slowly, holding her belly, taking a moment here and there to rest, while Joy stared at the television mounted on the wall; she wasn't watching the poor reception of "It's A Wonderful Life" playing on the screen... none of the women were.
Annalie stared past the bleak reflection of the bright waiting room in the large window across from her. Ice was wrapping around the trees as if they were presents to be opened in the morning. The man in the corner nervously tapped his foot on the chair beside him, which matched the beat of his companion who snored loudly, spread out across the plastic chairs.
At long last, Peter returned to the waiting room with vending machine coffees. Though Annalie was rattled with worry and distracted with uncertainties, she managed to give Peter a small smile when he handed her a coffee with a candy cane hanging over the rim; just how Annalie liked it.
As minutes turned into an hour, and then two hours, and then three hours, nothing but anxiety filled Annalie. Little to no words were exchanged between the four. Worrying about Eddie's fate on top of the anticipation for snow made Annalie feel like she was being pushed to the edge of the earth and was hanging onto reality by a rope whose fibers were slowly springing apart.
It was the longest night of the year in more ways than one. Sometime between the darkest veil and no hope for dawn, the doctor walked in who had introduced himself before the surgeries. He rounded the corner with an expression that had been practiced; an expression of stone, no emotion. Annalie already knew. How could she not?
Jane, who had been resting beside Joy and Peter, looked up hopeful. With eyes of glass, the doctor regretably shook his head. He spoke of the procedure and what went wrong--Jack and Eddie were in critical condition in the first place. Annalie stopped paying attention; emotion had escaped her. It was like the ice had come and numbed her senses instead of her limbs. When the doctor's white coat disappeared through the door and tears filled the waiting room, Annalie's world had ended.
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