Code Blue

An emotional story about a family trying to sort out their personal problems in the wake of a parent's tragic death.

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3. Elise

In movies, whenever the perfect, heroic father dies tragically, they portray the placid wife giving up. She is shown crying on the floor of the shower, showing up to work at two o’clock in the afternoon, if she even does at all, and then she spends the entire day crying at her cubicle, stuffing herself with chocolates as she is surrounded by a pack of sympathetic friends and co-workers. Well the reality is not like that at all, in fact, I’ll testify right here that it is absolutely nothing like that at all. You spend all of your time bottling the lonely up. That scene where the woman cries in the shower? Well, you can’t, because you’re afraid that your daughter will come bursting in, needing help to clean up a broken bottle and find her a band-aid, and she can’t see you falling to bits, just because you already have doesn’t mean that she can know that. You’re still expected to show up for work on time every morning, no excuses, and all of those caring co-workers are too filled with pity to actually talk to you face to face, and a barrage of sympathetic emails isn’t much different than no one caring at all. It’s been about a month since I got that call. I was in that cubicle, sending an email to a coworker, trying to figure out the words to shame them for not following through on a project, but not wanting to be rude and unprofessional. Professionalism sucks. And then the phone rang. I hurriedly picked it up and gave my form, all business greeting as Elise Shepherd, Dean of Admissions at Middleburg College. I was a bit confused as the voice on the other end of the call didn’t seem to match the profile of our normal caller, too old to be an overanalyzing eighteen year-old applicant, and raspy sounding, tough, somehow unlike the voices of anyone that I work with. To be quite honest, I wasn’t really paying much attention to the call, being January, we were swamped with application, admission deadlines, setting up applicant interviews, and so I was just paying enough attention to hear much of what he was saying, until I heard “car crash”. So I asked, “sir, I’m sorry, but why are you contacting me about a car accident?” and I asked him if it pertained to an applicant, because why else would I be getting called about an accident at work. “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but do I need to repeat myself?” Briskly, “Okay, sure.” He paused, before asking, “are you the wife of Jonathan Shepherd?” I tensed, immediately becoming a bit warm, “yes, I am.” “Ma’am, your husband has been in a car accident. Could we ask you to come down to Burlington St. Joseph’s to fill out some paperwork for your husband?”
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