Blackout -- chapter 6
Published Feb 27, 2013

Written By



Page 1 / 26

This chapter is a bit short because I hit a natural breaking point. The next chapter will be out soon.

As always, thanks to the CC creators for their awesome work, and to my readers for the ratings and kind feedback.

This chapter is a bit short because I hit a natural breaking point. The next chapter will be out soon.

As always, thanks to the CC creators for their awesome work, and to my readers for the ratings and kind feedback.
Three days after the world lost its most precious jewel, we buried my baby sister. After the service, Todd stood unmoving in front of her grave, holding Erick with one arm and a sobbing Talia on the other, dressed in their Sunday best. I realize I’ve been selfish these past few days. I’ve been wallowing in grief and guilt, too absorbed in my own misery to think about how they must be dealing with it. Tina took care of everything in that house. Getting my emotions under control, I approach Todd after the funeral. “Hey Todd, how are you holding up?”

He looks awful. I can tell he hasn’t been sleeping much, and he’s lost so much weight in just a few days. He shrugs and attempts a smile. “We’re managing.”

I nod. What a stupid question. What did I expect him to say?

“I was thinking, if you want, maybe I could help out with the kids and the house until you adjust.”
“No!” he blurts out, then takes a deep breath. “No thanks, Carolyn. My mother is going to stay with us for a while.”

“Oh. Ok.” I understand, but the rejection still stings a little bit. My niece and nephew are all I have left of her.

He closes his eyes. “I’m sorry, Carolyn. It’s just.. you look so much like her, and I’m not ready to deal with that. Not yet.”

I nod and give a small smile, then turn to walk away before he sees the tears in my eyes. I do understand, though. He blames me, too.
Sean catches up to me just before I leave the cemetery. “Hey, Carolyn! Wait up. Are you ok?”

I nod mutely and he takes my hand. “Come on,” he says. “I’ll take you home.”
Sean has been a lifesaver for me. He offered his guest room to me while the cause of the fire was investigated. He has been cooking for me, fielding phone calls and mail, bringing me books to read when I refused to get out of bed, insisting that I needed to take care of the baby when I didn’t feel like taking care of myself.

And now it's the morning after the funeral. I've been cleared to move back into my house, so I slept in my own bed last night. Sean insisted on sleeping on the couch at my place. Truthfully, I didn't argue too much. I just don't have the energy.
I wake up to bright sunlight streaming through the window as Sean opens the blinds. I groan and cover my eyes. He starts pulling clothes from my closet and drawer and tosses them on the bed. “Get dressed,” he says. “You need to get out of bed.”

I pull the pillow over my head. I know he means well, but right now I want to deck him. “Go away, Sean.”


He pulls a chair up next to the bed and pulls the pillow away from my puffy eyes. “Listen, Carolyn. You’ve hardly been out of bed in days. Do you think this is what Tina would want for you? Think about it. What would she be doing if she were here right now?”

As much as I want to tell him that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, that he didn’t even know my sister, in my mind I see her bouncing in the room with her shimmery red hair trailing behind her, pulling me out of bed and making me get dressed. It's exactly what she would do. I sigh. “Fine. I’ll get up.”

He smiles. “Breakfast in 10 minutes. And you’re eating it at the table today.” He leaves the room, pulling the door shut behind him.
I do manage to get out of bed a little more over the next week, but not much farther than the couch. On Thursday morning, I drag myself out of bed and pull on my robe and slippers. Sean is at the stove scrambling eggs. I glance at the clock, surprised. It's already 9:30.

"Sean? What are you doing? I thought you were going back to work."

He gives me a strange smile. "Yeah.. Thursday and Friday."

"Right. Thursday."

"Uh huh. I did."

"What? Sean, today is Thursday."
He flips off the stove and walks over to me slowly, an unreadable expression on his face. "Carolyn? Today is Saturday. I've been at work the past two days, remember?"

This isn't funny. I give him my nastiest scowl. "Quit messing with me Sean, I'm not in the mood."

"I know," he says quietly. He hands me the newspaper from the counter. I scan the front page but don't see anything of interest.

"Yeah? What?"
He taps the date on top of the paper. Saturday? That can't be right.

I grab the remote and flip on the TV. Instead of my regular weekday show, Good Morning Bridgeport, I find Saturday morning cartoons. I can feel sweat dripping down my back and I'm breathing too fast. This can't be happening. I've lost days? I've always been able to count my lost time in hours. And I haven't lost a single hour since I became pregnant.

Until now.
I'm starting to feel lightheaded. Sean grabs my arms and lowers me gently down to the couch. I realize he's watching me intently.

A single clear thought swims through my muddled head. Get yourself under control, Carolyn!

I bite down on my tongue, hard. The pain clears my head. I stand up and force a laugh.
"Oh yeah, of course. I remember now. I just lose track of days, you know, not being on my regular schedule."

I can tell he's not buying it. He continues to study me. I need to distract him. "So what's for breakfast? I'm starving." He doesn't respond, so I walk over and pull the fridge open. Ooh, there are oranges in the drawer. I could go for some oranges.
I pull open the drawer and cover my mouth to hold in the gag. Not oranges. Mangoes. I back away from the fridge until I run into the counter behind me. I can't even stand the smell. I look up and see that he's followed me into the kitchen.

Way to act normal, Carolyn.

I try to cover it with a forced laugh. "Oooookay. If you're going to be staying here, we need to set some ground rules. No mangoes in my house. No mango juice, no mango scented candles, nothing. They're just nasty."
He has come into the kitchen, but he's still just staring at me. He has that little line between his eyebrows, the one he always used to get when we were trying to work out a particular piece of tricky code. I know his mind is spinning, but I have no idea what he's thinking.

I need to defuse this. I smile at him. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to freak out on you. It's just, they're my kryptonite. Umm, could you please throw those out for me? I really can't stand to be near them."

"Sure," he says slowly. He pulls the whole fruit drawer out of the fridge and takes it to the trash can outside. He dumps it and then washes out the drawer before putting it back in the fridge. Then he takes the frying pan outside and scrapes everything into the trash can too. "Why did you do that?" I say as he walks back in. "We could've warmed up the eggs."

He shrugs sheepishly. "They weren't just eggs. It was going to be kind of an egg bake. I had put some of the mangoes in because you--" he stops himself and looks down. "Because I thought you would like it."

Aww jeez. He was trying to be thoughtful and I threw a big fit. I'm a horrible person. "Oh Sean, I'm so sorry! I should've told you sooner, but.. well, it never really came up."
I'm relieved to see him finally smile.

"Imagine that. I always discuss my fruit preferences by at least the second date." He winks at me. "Don't worry about it. So, how do you feel about frozen waffles?" He pulls open the freezer and examines the contents. "Blueberry. Is that an acceptable fruit?"

A real laugh comes out for the first time in a week. "Blueberries are fine. And even you couldn't screw up frozen waffles."
He puts his hand over his heart and gasps dramatically. "And all this time I thought my cooking was not bad."

I laugh, remembering the first time I tasted his cooking. It was amazing.

"It's a beautiful day outside. Let's eat on the deck," he suggested. "I will try to make the frozen waffles edible and bring them out."

"Ok. Just let me get dressed first."
It's the first time since the...accident... that I've gotten myself dressed without Sean's prodding.

The sun is warm and the birds are chirping. Cars drive by and I can hear kids playing in the neighborhood. How can it be possible that the rest of the world just went on like nothing happened? How can we be eating blueberry waffles like there's nothing wrong in the world?

"Hey," Sean says. "Let's go for a walk. The exercise will do you some good."

Some women are sensitive about their size during pregnancy, but I'm not one of them. I love my tummy and what it represents. I put my hand over my heart, mimicking his actions from half an hour ago. "Sean! Are you trying to tell me I'm getting fat?"
I stand up and gave him a profile view of my body, smoothing my hand over my enormous belly.

"Well, now that you mention it, I think you may have put on a few pounds," he says, grinning.

I throw the last waffle at his head, which he is too slow to catch, and it smacks him in the face. I laugh out loud.

"Let me go get my shoes."
I manage to get my feet into my shoes, but I can't seem to bend over far enough to tie them. Good thing I've got a willing manservant outside. I waddle back through the kitchen, and then I notice the scorch marks still over the stove.

After the house had been declared structurally sound, Sean and a couple of his friends came over and cleaned up so I wouldn't have to face it the first time I came home. They did a great job, but there were still scorch marks in a few places on the walls. They were darkest here.
I trace over them with my finger, my momentary happiness gone. Tina would have been over here with paint already to cover them up. I follow one of the darkest lines all the way down to the range, and then...

Oh no no no no oh god please no.

I feel the hard floor under my butt, but I have no idea how I got there. I can't breathe. The room is getting dark around me and then Sean is there next to me, pulling me on to his lap and holding me, rocking and talking in my ear, but the words don't make any sense.
I'm crying so hard my head is buzzing and my arms and legs feel numb. Sean is holding my chin between his fingers, forcing me to look at him, and some words seep through the buzz. "Carolyn, you have to breathe. Come on. Breathe with me." And so I do. I do exactly as he tells me, and soon my breathing has calmed down to hiccupping gasps.

He wraps his arms around me and pulls me against his chest. After a minute, he says, "Hey, I know it doesn't feel like it right now, but it will get better. Each day it will hurt a little bit less. You'll be able to go places you've been with her and make new memories. And then one day you'll see something reminds you of her, and the memory will make you smile instead of cry. One day you'll be able to talk about her and laugh. And then you will realize that you'll be ok."
I let him hold me and comfort me, but I will never be ok again, and he will never understand. This is not like when his mother died. Yes, Tina was a huge part of my life and she left a big gaping hole in my heart, but that's not what's killing me.

I won't get over it because I don't deserve to.

Because it's all my fault.

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#1AlessaFayeFeb 28, 2013

I feel so bad for Carolyn! Pregnant while experiencing the blackouts, and losing someone close to her. Anyways great chapter! \:D

#2jadababy2003VIPFeb 28, 2013 much like real life. An amazing story!!

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