The Blue Chair Pt. 2 by: M. R. Vega
Jacob woke before the rest of the home did, as he often did, and went about doing his morning routine. Jacob packed the lunch for his son, the assistive tech device, and nestled that into the convenient pouch with a peanut-butter cup in the tiny hide-a-hole. He prepped the iced protein coffee for his wife and sliced some fruits & veggies for her knowing the day would be long and grueling while making sure to pack an extra protein drink in her lunch sack. After that was done he grabbed his favorite mug, a white and black dog head capable of holding 28 ounces of coffee, and started his personal prep before hitting the office.
The second, no the third alarm for his wife and son, had just gone off and with a smile, he kissed her gently giving her a bit of a nudge telling her he’d turned the shower on. After that he egged his son out of bed with a chiming of his name that had the young boy pad into the parent’s bed. There he pulled the blanket up to guard him against the light and Jacob left a pair of jeans and the boy’s school shirt along with some fresh socks, on his wife’s side of the bed he left a pair of rolled panties and long socks for her, a pair of gray slacks and a tank-top. He kissed them both gently knowing they’d still likely lay in bed for an additional ten minutes but knew he couldn’t just gaze in wonder at them and hustled to the office across the house. His piping hot coffee and a water bottle in hand, he gently plopped in his office chair and got settled for the day. Headset already atop his crown and the coffee pad warmer on, he got his computer warmed up and put in the needed keycodes, waited for admittance and while that took a moment longer as it usually did, he ran back to his bedroom, kissed his wife and son one last time and wished them a good day.
He hadn’t looked at Emily, their dog, hadn’t noticed the rotting scent yet and plopped down at his chair, entered in the appropriate codes for the VPN, got the virtual desktop going, and started his morning with a cheery “Good morning, my name is Jacob Vincente. Thank you for calling…” and went his next two hours uninterrupted while he punched in credentials and policies over and again, patching this client to this team and this agent to the third-party group and so on till his first break.
When he came out of the room to freshen up with a fresh cup of coffee, the house was empty and quiet. Thinking his son or maybe his wife had forgotten to flush he checked the bathroom but already knew the smell wasn’t emitting from that room. He looked at the dog bed, and gazed at Emily hesitantly inching toward her as though she had turned into a feral beast but once he stepped a foot closer was walloped by her dying body’s reeking mass and inhaled through his shirt, already bunched and at his lips. The tears were pouring uncontrollably while he grabbed at the nearest blanket that was left draped across one of the couches. He knew, or at the least, hoped his wife wouldn’t get sully about a sherpa being used to adorn their dog with but knew she’d ladle gold over the old girl if it was deemed appropriate.
He saw this moment, many times through the last few months, and had assumed he’d carry this weight more adequately, he couldn’t contain his grief however and curled next to Emily’s decaying old body for far too long. If it wasn’t for his landline ringing thirty minutes after he began swaddling her he’d have stayed there til his wife and son got home. He jolted in horror at the ringing but quickly came to realize it was likely a team member or TL trying to find out if he’d fallen or worse. Grabbing the phone, he first looked at the caller I.D. and was heartbroken that it was actually his wife calling. He’d done this so many times, but still in every dream never found the words right to tell her, never knew how to console the situation in a manner that wouldn’t have her getting weak at the knees and being able to hear the tears drop over the line.
“Hey Babe, everything okay? I tried texting you to let you know our boy and I are at the school, and just in time too, you gotta really shake me up sometimes Boo, you know how I get when it’s cold. Everything okay?” His wife had such a cheerful disposition and all Jacob could do was inhale as silently as he could and put a knuckle to his teeth trying so hard to not elude to the saddening development but knew the next thing he’d utter would tell her something was definitely not right.
“I’m sorry Honey, she’s gone…Emily passed away sometime through the night…I couldn’t bring… myself to call you when I realized…I just fell to the ground and cradled her til you called…I’m sorry Honey.” Jacob stated it all through sobs and sniffling, doing what he could not to choke, and was at the least, thankful that he had the words now. Regardless of the dreams he’d walked through night after night, at least he finally had something to say with emotion and a steeling of recollection to the moments before just blurting out that their dog was dead. He could hear his wife sniffling through the phone, asked if she was okay, and said he was sorry again. He could hear her start to sob and felt wretched that he didn’t see Emily earlier in the morning, or god forbid, smell her before his wife and son left for the day.
He didn’t want her driving in this state of grief, the last year alone hadn’t been all that kind as his wife lost her mother early the year before and then near Cabrini Day lost her Grandmother as well. Those were the last of her family and many times had she uttered to Emily not to take that path for at least another year. She begged to have a year, at the least to gain her feet, but no Emily chose her own time…and Jacob could feel a deepening pit inside as the monumental loss was likely hitting his wife in the heart heavier than anything he could equate an understanding to.
“Leave the car, we’ll pick it up later, I’m going to call my boss and ride over to the school and get both you and our boy okay? Honey? Just stay there, if you can tell your Trina what just happened and I’m sure she’ll cover your room. I’ll be there within twenty minutes, I love you.”
He could hear her sob a gobbed and wet love you too and okay into the phone before hanging up, afterward he quickly grabbed his keys and hustled to the car. He was thankful that they at least got two vehicles as one of those nightmares he wrestled with had shown his wife dealing with tears flooding her eyes and losing both his wife and child in a horrific accident, at the least, he was able to turn the finger to fate and say it wasn’t taking them today. He pressed on the gas and barely noticed getting to the school with all the chaos that was flooding his head and how he needed to start reconsidering some of the recurring dreams that have been following him through the nights as of late.
That wasn’t something to think about now. He needed to get his wife and kid from the school, thankfully and tragically they were outside waiting under an umbrella while the morning rains were starting to come in, he ushered them into the car, thanked Trina for the assistance, and consoled them while he sped there as legally as possible. She gave him a tight hug and pressed her hand against the passenger window blowing kisses at his wife and boy while he got back in and headed back home to dig Emily’s grave. His head burned with worry and dread as he last night knew this was going to happen. But unlike all the other times this dream had happened, it came to a full fruition, what had changed, or what was it that Jacob had done or not done that made it happen? Was it something so easy to consider that a lack of action made this happen? Did this mean that fate caught up, that his path was turning to point of fitting the nightmares that kept him sweating through the night and restless every other?
He drove through the soft rains, hearing both his wife and son sniffing quietly, the radio was muted and all that could be heard was the pattering of droplets from up above while they drove home…to say goodbye to dear Emily.