"Don't let it end...please?"
Luckily no one complains about me wanting to keep him with me. They speak quietly as I just sit there. I hold James, occasionally switching arms or placing him in my lap to admire him. My mom changes his diaper for me but I feed him. No one asks to take the job.
When Dr. Henderson finally steps into the waiting room everyone goes silent. I stand up, clutching James in my arms as the doctor steps over to me.
“Mr. Iero,” he says.
“How is she?” I ask.
“She’s stable. We just sent her to recovery.”
“So… is she going to be okay?”
“We think so. We were able to locate the problem and take care of it. At the moment she seems well. We’ll have to keep her in recovery for an hour before you can see her. Then we’re going to keep her sedated until tomorrow so we can keep and eye on her heart and lungs. We just want to make sure everything is responding well.”
“So… from your personal opinion do you think she’s going to be okay?” I ask.
“I think she’s going to be fine, Mr. Iero.”
I breathe out sharply, “Thank you. Thank you so fucking much.”
He just smiles and pats my shoulder, “We’ll let you know when she’s ready for you.”
I nod and he steps away. My mom immediately pulls me into a hug.
I can’t explain what I am feeling…intense relief. At the same time the fear is still there. I am afraid that there might be more complications, that they might have made a mistake. An hour later my fears are silenced…we are told we can go see her. We all pile into Amber’s room. We find her hooked up to machines, breathing mechanically. The steady beeping of her heart comes form the monitor by her side. I go right to her and no one tries to take that title from me. Amber is a daughter, a niece, and a cousin, but she is first and foremost a mother and a fiancée.
I take her hand in mine and run my thumb over her skin. There is a lot I want to say to her but I will wait until we are alone. Instead I reach her hand up to touch James’ face. He shifts and squeaks but otherwise makes no movement. I just hope that wherever Amber is she felt him. I hope that she knows she has a little boy waiting for her…the little boy with her eyes and my nose.
After that I let her family take over. They all kiss her and squeeze her hand. Everyone is quiet. A little while later they decide to head back to Jersey. I am told that I must call in the morning when she wakes up or before that if anything changes. After a few hugs I am alone.
I wait for a long time in silence and then a nurse comes in and smiles at me.
“I brought you some more diapers and formula,” she says.
“Oh, thank you,” I reply. She puts them in James’ unused bassinet.
“How are they?”
“He’s great. She’s doing fine for the moment they said.”
The nurse pats Amber’s foot, “I’m glad. Let me know if you need anything else.”
“I will. Thank you.”
When she leaves I pull a chair up to Amber’s side, taking her hand, “Amber,” I know she wouldn’t respond so I don’t wait for one. “Do you remember the forever night?” I am silent for a moment. “Don’t let it end… please?”