Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Married in the Spring

           I stood to one side as the hospital attendants quickly removed the unconscious man from the front seat of my car and strapped him to a gurney.
Wind-swept snow nearly blinded me; bitter cold bit my cheeks.
"We'll take him now, Rita," one of the attendants said.
This morning, I'd found the man slumped over the steering wheel in his car at a little roadside park on a county road.
"He'll be all right," the other attendant said, pointing to a bracelet on the man's wrist. "Diabetic. Blood glucose probably too low. Happens sometimes."
I'm a nurse at this hospital.
I knew the attendant's assessment was on target. When I'd discovered the man, he was pale and soaked in sweat, his heart beat rapid—classic signs of hypoglycemia.
As the attendants hurried him away into the hospital, I followed them to the ER. Raising the man's blood glucose with intravenous glucose and plenty of fluids would bring him around nicely. I needed to talk to him. I had his car keys. I'd locked his car before I brought him here, and I was sure he wouldn't remember where he'd left the vehicle.
An hour later, I sat in Thomas O'Malley's hospital room in a chair next to his bed. Hooked up to several IVs, he was sitting up and smiling at me. "I don't know how to thank you," he said. "Rita...Rita Albright, that's your name?"
I nodded. "I'm a nurse," I said. "Helping people is what I do."
"If you hadn’t come along," he said, "I would've...frozen to death."
"That's possible."
Though I hadn't realized it when I rescued him, he was wonderfully handsome—curly black hair, blue eyes, square jaw, and an easy smile that sucked the air right out of my lungs.
"Why did you stop at that tiny roadside park in the first place?" he asked.
"My folks live on a farm. I'd been visiting over the weekend, I was driving home, I'd drunk too much coffee with breakfast—I needed a restroom. Why were you on that off-beaten road?"
"Lost. I own a window and siding business. I'd been at a farmer's house, writing out an estimate. After I left, I felt myself getting weak. I felt confused. Ready to pass out. I had to get off the road."
"You weren't' paying attention to your blood-sugar level, were you, Mr. O'Malley?"
"Tom. Call me Tom. Please." His smile turned sheepish. "I'm careless, I admit. But this has never happened before."
"You didn't have an orange or a candy bar with you? A can of regular soda?"
He offered another sheepish smile. "I was in such a hurry this morning...you know how Mondays are." Then, "How in the world did you get me into your car? I'm six-one, a hundred eighty-five pounds. You're...?"
"Five foot, a little more than a hundred." I preferred not to reveal how many pounds over a hundred. "You weren't quite out of it yet. I managed to get your arm around my shoulder, and somehow we staggered from your car to mine."
"Thank you," he said. "I can't thank you enough."
I told Tom I was sure he'd be released this afternoon. He'd need somebody to take him to his car, about thirty miles away. I could do that—Monday was my day off—the snow had stopped—but if he preferred to have his wife or someone from his office take him, I could write out directions.
"Not married," he said. "You?"
Shaking my head, I dug in my purse for his car keys. "These are yours."
"Thank you," he said, smiling his breathtaking smile. "I'd be delighted to ride with you again."
Despite the cold, the gray skies of this morning had given way to late afternoon sunshine. By the time I drove Tom to his car over the newly plowed county road, I felt as if we'd know each other forever. He was a city boy; I was a country girl. But we discovered with liked the same movies—romantic adventures; the same music—old time rock 'n' roll; and the same sports—he'd played baseball in high school; I'd played softball.
After I parked my car next to his in the snow, he jumped out and started his, letting it warm up. Climbing back into mine to stay warm, he said, "I owe you my life. Let me take you to dinner tonight. Ribeye, thick and juicy. Baked potato, sour cream. Salad, blue cheese..."
I shook my head.
"How about my place?" I said. "I'll fix a meal that's good for you. Something healthy."
He thought about that for a second."It's an offer I can't refuse," he said, his smile melting my heart. This wonderful man with the big smile has been eating healthy ever since. Hopelessly and helplessly in love, we married in the spring.

The End
Enjoy Reality Contemporary YA fiction with an impact. Don't wait! Visit: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=jon+ripslinger