• Story Time

    #XD30-Chapter 29-Wired Relief

    Opening my eyes, I see Ashley. She squeezes my hand and smiles.

    “Hey baby. Your mouth has been wired shut, so you’ll have to use your phone and this dry erase board to communicate.”

    That would explain the tightness that I felt in my mouth. I take the dry erase board from Ashley and quickly scribble a message.


    Turning the board around for Ashley to see, she reads the question, and begins to write.


    Wow. I grab the board.


    Ashley stands up lays next to me in the bed. I move over. Reading the board, she looks at the doctor.

    “Susan, when you fell and landed on your head, your brain was slowly swelling. You were put into a medically induced coma to decrease the swelling.”

    He pauses while Ashley grabs a tissue and blots the tears forming in my eyes. The doctor clears his throat before he continues.

    “In addition, the bleeding you experienced was caused by a ovarian cyst that ruptured. To sum it up, you and the baby are fine.”

    Relief never felt so good. Ashley stands as she walks the staff out. Closing the door behind them, she does a happy dance. I want to laugh so bad but it hurts wayyyy too much. She lies beside me on the bed. I start writing.


    Ashley laughs so loud it scares me. She finally regains her composure and responds via board.


  • Story Time

    #XD30-Chapter 20-What a Tangled Web She Weaves

    That was awkward. Susan’s mother rushes past me and didn’t say a word. It’s not like she says much to me to begin with and her disdain for me is clearly evident. I dim the lights in the room and pull the chair next to Susan. It’s been a week and she’s slept uninterrupted every night since she got here.

    As I admire Susan’s peacefulness, my phone starts vibrating. It’s a text from Yelena.

    Paying Nick off keeps him silent. There’s nothing stopping me from telling your secrets…unless you have $100,000 to keep me quiet.

    The next few minutes are spent in a coughing fit. I’ve been fighting whatever this is for the past three weeks. Breathing hurts like hell. I make a note in my phone to schedule a doctor’s appointment in the morning before responding back to Yelena.

    You just don’t know when to quit, do you.

    About fifteen seconds pass before she strikes back.

    I told you years ago to never, ever cross me. I forgave you for dumping me for Susan. Now you’re paying Nick to hold your secret. Don’t push me over the ledge bitch.

    I didn’t respond back. When Yelena tells you she’s going to do something, best believe it will be done. Paying her off isn’t enough. She won’t rest until Susan is out of the picture. Enough of this bitch, I need to sleep. Drifting in and out of sleep for hours I find myself repeating the same dream. Frustrated from lack of continuous sleep, I grab a pen and paper to jot down some notes on my dream.

    Tangled in a web. Yelena=spider. Susan dead…cause unknown.

  • Story Time

    #XD30-Chapter 19-This is a Warning

    “The baby is okay. You had a ruptured ovarian cyst.”

    That voice sounds familiar. Struggling to open my eyes, I can faintly make out my surroundings: hospital room, oxygen tube in my nose, and the the faint smell of vanilla mint. My mother is here. Geez, my mouth is dry. I signal for some water.

    “Here you go honey,” she coos, adjusting the bed position so I’m sitting up.

    Savoring the water, I wait for the coolness to hydrate my mouth.

    “Thank you. It’s nice to see you, but why are you here?”

    Never at a loss for words, my mother sits on the end of my bed. Dressed in a mint green caftan and gladiator sandals, she’s so zen. It’s disgusting, yet perfect for a humanistic psychologist.

    “Ashley called me. Told me that you’re having dreams about miscarrying, Yelena, and blood. I believe Karma, working through your subconscious, is trying to tell you something.”

    I roll my eyes.

    “Exactly what would Karma and my subconscious be trying to tell me?”

    I low key know the answer to this question already. My mother must have sensed it.

    “Have you and Ashley sat down and thought of the ramifications of your actions? What you both have done has affected more people than you think. Then, instead of facing the situation head on, the two of you disappear. Let me tell you something, you can run all you want to, but Karma will always find you. Let that marinate.”

    I open my mouth to speak, but my mother motions for me to remain silent.

    “This medical episode that you had is no coincidence. You and Ashley will continue to be plagued with issues until you make things right.”

    Thankfully, the nurse enters the room to give me another round of meds. I watch the liquid flow through the IV as I wait to drift into the clouds. My mother gathers her bag, kisses me on the cheek ,and heads towards the door.

    “This isn’t over Susan. It would be in your best interest to listen to me,” she warns, brushing past Ashley on her way out.

    Eyelids heavy, I drift off to sleep. Finally, some peace.

  • Story Time

    #XD30-Chapter 18-Blood, Sirens, and a Text Message

    I run out of the bedroom, towards the living room. Susan is screaming bloody murder, her body stiff as a board.

    “Stop screaming!” I yell, grabbing her shoulders.

    Suddenly quiet, she points down to the sofa cushions. There’s nothing there. I’m confused. I sit Susan down on the sofa and grab a glass of water from the kitchen. I hand her the glass and watch her take a very long sip.

    “I…I…don’t know what’s going on with me. These dreams are really fucking with me. I swear I saw blood on the sofa right after I saw Yelena staring at me.”

    Yelena? Blood? What the hell is she eating before she goes to sleep?I can’t take four more months of this.

    “You’re going to the doctor and I don’t mean the OB-GYN.”

    Susan cocks her head to the side.

    “A head doctor? Really?!?! I’m not crazy! I know what the fuck I…”

    She faints. I elevate her feet and grab her phone to dial 9-1-1. As I speak to the dispatcher, she comes to.

    “Don’t move. An ambulance is on its way,” I instruct.

    Refusing to listen, Susan attempts to sit up. As she puts her left leg on the ground, I notice that there’s blood running down her right leg. With my free hand, I aggressively push her back down on the sofa.

    “Lie down Susan!!! You’re bleeding!!”

    I can hear sirens outside. I call the concierge to let him know that the ambulance is coming. I check on Susan. Her forehead is hot, she’s sweating, and a blood-stained spot  is forming on the sofa cushion. The concierge and paramedics are knocking on the door. Opening the door, I step aside and watch them tend to Susan.

    “Ashley, grab my purse, laptop, and phone,” she instructs with the oxygen mask on her face.

    Ignoring her, I quickly text my mother and Susan’s mother to let them know that we’re going to the hospital. Susan’s not going to be happy, but if she won’t see a stranger, perhaps she’ll talk to her mother.

    “Hello? Did you not hear me?”

    “I have your phone and purse. Work should be the last thing on your mind when your health is at risk.”

    Once Susan get situated on the gurney, everyone heads out towards the emergency elevator. As I follow them down the hall, the notification light on my phone is blinking. It’s a text from Yelena.

    “How’s Susan doing?”

  • Story Time

    #XD30-Chapter 17-Karma, is that you?

    For 13 nights in a row, I’ve had a dream that some mystical force enters our home and steals the spirit of our baby, forcing me to miscarry. As soon as I start to bleed, I wake up from the dream. My blood pressure has been elevated every night since that first dream.

    Usually, I just lie awake in the bed but tonight, I decided to get some work done.

    I slip out of the bed and walk into the living room. Stretching out on the sofa, I grab my laptop and start working.

    “I’m making a doctor’s appointment. You’ve been up for the past three days in a row,” she whispers in my ear.

    Scared, I start flailing my arms and legs. I knock over my glass of water and accidentally hit Ashley in the face.

    “Do you have to sneak up on me Silent Ninja? I’m already jumpy as it is.”

    Ashley giggles while rubbing her cheek.

    “I’m sorry love. I rolled over and realized that you weren’t in the bed…again. Is heartburn keeping you up at night?”

    I wish it was heartburn. Guess this would be the time to tell her.

    “I’m having this reoccurring dream that some mystical force steals the spirit of our baby and I miscarry.”

    Ashley just stands there, blinking her eyes in disbelief.

    “I don’t know how to respond. Have you spoken to your parents about it?”

    I sigh. Under no circumstances do I want to tell my Buddhism-practicing parents about this dream.

    “No I haven’t and I don’t intend on telling them,” I respond without looking up from the screen.

    “Fine, don’t tell them. I’m making a doctor’s appointment later,” she says walking back to bed.

    After working for two hours, I start to doze off. I wake up to what feels like the warmth of the sun on my face. I open my eyes and see Yelena, eyes red with rage. I wake up screaming.

    Heart is racing, body is drenched in sweat. I feel something warm trickling down my leg. Upset that I peed on myself, I look back at the sofa. The spot isn’t yellow. It’s red.


  • Story Time

    #XD30-Chapter 16-$50,000 Sigh of Relief

    It’s crazy how fast the past three months have flown by. Susan is currently 20 weeks along and last week we found out we are having a girl. She finally decided to slow down with work and relax. I’m fighting the urge to fill this condo with all baby everything.

    “I would soooooo love a foot massage right now,” Susan asks, wiggling her toes on the sofa.

    “Coming!” I respond, grabbing the bowl of fruit salad.

    As I rub her feet, I see that my notification light on the phone is blinking. I glance at Susan. Head turned to the side, she’s dozing off. Definitely doesn’t take much these days. I stop massaging and check my phone. It’s an email from Nick.

    Paperwork has been signed.

    I breathe a sigh of relief. Guess it was loud because Susan starts to stir. I put the phone down.

    “Just because I’m sleeping doesn’t mean you stop rubbing,” she mumbles.

    I laugh. She never skips a beat.

    “Are you hungry? I made a fruit salad with mint and balsamic vinegar.”

    Susan’s eyes light up.

    “We’re always hungry, however, I need to pee first,” she announces, sitting up.

    I watch her walk down the hall out of sight before I sneak a few bites of salad. Not too bad for someone who can’t boil water.  I hear the door open and quickly put the bowl back on the coffee table. Susan shuffles back into the living room. She’s rubbing her temples.

    “These sonofabitch headaches suck! I hate them more than dizziness, leg cramps, and heartburn combined.”

    “I’ll grab a lavender eye pillow from the bathroom.”

    “Ahhhh love, thank you! I wouldn’t want to be having a baby with anyone else,” she exclaims, kissing me on the cheek. The faint smell of coconut tickles my nose.

    I grab my phone and continue reading.

    Being $50,000 richer feels mighty good. Thanks.

  • The Complexities of Life

    Baffles of Life: Baby On Board Signs

    "Baby On Board!" Replaces Pulp Stick...
    “Baby On Board!” Replaces Pulp Sticker…The Circle of Life (Photo credit: Steve and Sara)

    I need help.

    There are things in life that I don’t understand. Buying milk and cheese during a snowstorm, chasing tornadoes, and the most baffling one of all, Baby On Board signs.

    Yes, Baby On Board signs. Remember those “I Love the…” decade shows that used to air on VH1? These signs were featured on one of those shows. Unfortunately, I remember it well. Yet another black eye in pop culture.

    I don’t understand the purpose of them. As a driver, does that mean that I’m supposed to pretend that your car is surrounded by a bubble that cannot be harmed by fellow drivers? Am I expected to start speaking baby babble when I drive past you? Or am I to forgive you driving 55 on the interstate when everyone is doing 75?

    Help me understand?!

    Make these signs go away!!