There is a moment sometime in September in the South, when you realize that summer is not forever. Yesterday you were certain that summer would never end. You were certain that the haze and the heat were unending and you would spend the rest of your life either stuck inside buildings with the air conditioning turned down too low or outside melting in the shimmering heat waves coming from the cement.
Now is that moment in Savannah. As Sara walks towards her office building, the sky is the blue of autumn and the breeze that lifts the hair from her neck actually carries a bit of cool to her hot, damp skin. Walking, she ponders that moment in the kitchen. For a second she had been sure that James was going to kiss her good-bye. But the moment was quickly gone and now she had to let it go. There was too much going on in her life to let something like that upset her.
Besides, she thought to herself, that breeze is too great to think about anything else this morning. Except maybe how I’m going to decide about an OB.
“I won’t think about that now,” she said out loud, in her best Scarlett imitation. “I’ll think about that tomorrow.” A security guard at the entrance of her building looked up as she spoke and raised his eyebrows. Sara blushed and smiled, pushing open the glass door and heading towards the elevators. As she pressed the “up” button, she gathered her thoughts, preparing herself for another day at work, another day of sympathetic looks and hugs. She could do this.
The doors opened to the elevator and Dale, Dale from the Barnes and Noble disaster day, stepped out.
“Sara. I was just upstairs looking for you.”
Sara’s heart skipped a beat. The fight or flight thing again. Fight was going to have to win out this time.
“Hi, Dale. I’m so sorry about the way I-“
Dale put up a hand. “Don’t even worry about it. Really. I completely understand. Could we--” He looked around the lobby of the office building. “Is there somewhere we could talk for just a minute?”
“Um, yea,” Sara said, shaking her head a bit to clear it. What does he want? She thought. She gestured towards a sitting area. “Is this ok? Does it need to be more, I don’t know, private?” Please don’t need to be private, please.
“No, no. Nothing like that." They neared the sitting area of the lobby. "This is great.”
They both sat down on the one of the couches. This early in the morning, the only people coming in were employees and Sara was earlier than usual, so the lobby was, gratefully, empty.
“So…” Dale began.
“So…” Sara said.
“I hate to have to be here at all. I can’t—I really liked your husband, William. He was a good guy. He talked about you all the time.”
“He did? Really?”
“Yea, really. He seemed like a genuinely happy person and I always got the feeling that you were a huge part of that.”
Sara’s eyes were tearing up, but she was NOT going to break down. NOT.
“Thank you. Really. Thank you so much. Most of the people back in Oden, where the funeral was, hadn’t known him for awhile. It’s good to hear that. Really good.”
Sara smiled. Dale smiled back. “I, uh, am actually here on official company business. I have William’s last check for you. I think you left a message at the office. Our boss asked me to come and deliver it in person. I hope that’s ok.” Dale pulled out an envelope from his jacket pocket and handed it to Sara. Sara was shaking. “It’s his last check, plus his vacation time payout. Mr. Sanders, the owner, pushed it through quicker than usual. He thought you could probably use it. There’s more to do, like his 401K and stuff, but you can come by the Human Resources office for that. I think you have to sign. Ask for Martha.”
Sara tried to remain calm. She would not look at this check until she got upstairs. She wouldn’t. But a knot inside her chest loosened just a bit, and she leaned over and hugged the man in front of her.
“This means…thank you. It means a lot.” She held the envelope to her chest.
They both stood up and Dale took her hand, like he had in the mall. “If there’s ever anything you need, just call. I mean it.” He pulled out a business card and handed it to Sara, who put it with the envelope in her hand.
“Thanks again. And tell Mr. Sanders, thank you. William loved going to work there.”
“I will. Take care.”
“You, too.” And he was gone.
Where can I go to open this? Sara looked around the lobby and saw the door to the stairwell. As good a place as any.
When she had gone in and sat down on the second step, her hands shaking, she turned the envelope over and opened it. The numbers smiled back at her. There was her mortgage payment for the next three months. And with James living with her, it meant even more of a cushion to get her through. The day just got a lot brighter.
Sara sat down at her computer and turned it on. No one was in the office yet. She was alone. At least for a few minutes.
She opened her browser and typed in “OB doctors Savannah GA” and waited for the results to load. “I can’t believe I’m going to choose my OB based on a Google search. I’m an idiot,” she said out loud to the empty room.
The results came up and, luckily, came with some reviews. “Gotta love the internet age.” Sara quickly dismissed the doctors from Memorial. There was too much baggage and sadness with that place. She didn’t want to have to remember William’s body in the ER every time she went to an appointment.
So, she chose the OB with the best reviews at Candler Hospital on Reynolds Street, a Dr. Gioia. She took a deep breath, picked up the phone and called the number listed.
After going through a series of menus, a woman answered the phone.
“Candler OB Associates, can I help you?”
“Hi, my name is Sara Carraway. I’m pregnant and need an appointment with Dr. Gioia.”
“Yes, ma’am. Do you have insurance?”
“Oh, um, yes, I do.” Did she? Crap. That was through William’s job. She hadn’t even thought about that.
“Alright. When was your last menstrual period?”
“Um. Oh, gosh, I don’t even remember. Maybe late June?”
“So you’re maybe about 8 weeks along?”
“Sure. Sounds right.”
“Okay, Mrs. Carraway, I can get you in next week for your initial appointment. We have a nine am on Thursday, is that ok?”
“Please come a few minutes early to fill out paperwork, ok?”
“Ok. And that’s with Dr. Gioia, right?” Sara just needed to be sure. She liked the name.
“Yes, Dr. Gioia, next Thursday at nine a.m.”
“Great. I’ll be there.” Sara hung up the phone and let out a breath.
Just as she did the office door opened and Claire, the temp, walked in. Sara quickly closed the browser she’d been looking at. The last thing she needed was office staff knowing about the pregnancy. Lord, she’d never have a moments peace.
“Good morning, Sara! How are you?”
“Well, Claire. I’m great!” Sara needed to nip this mess in the bud, now. “And how are YOU today?”
“I’m so good. Mr. Hart was so nice to let me stay on even when you came back. I’m in school right now and I have a my little girl to take care of. This is a great place to work.”
“You have a little girl?”
“I do! Do you want to see a picture? She’s two.” As Claire reached for her phone, Sara looked at her in a new light. Claire had a little girl. Sara was going to have a baby soon. Too soon. Maybe Claire wasn’t all bad. “Here she is. Isn’t she sweet? She’s my whole world.”
Sara looked at the grinning toddler with icing on her face and in her blond hair. She was cute, definitely cute.
“What’s her name?”
“Evelyn, but we call her Monkey because she is. She’s into everything.”
Sara let Claire tell about the little girl with the blond hair, thinking the whole time…Oh my God, I’m going to be a mom.
Sara waited on the porch steps for James. She needed to talk to someone. She hoped he would want to talk to her. She looked up from her sweet tea as his car pulled up. He climbed out and spied her.
“Why hello Miz Sara. How’re you doing on this fine Autumn afternoon?” James had laid on the old Southern plantation accent. It was great.
“I’m doing’ very well, sir, if I do say so myself.” She matched his accent. He grinned.
“I totally want to ask you about work, because I know that is the polite thing to do, but can I tell you something else first?”
“Ok, good.” She took a deep breath. “I made an OB appointment.”
His eyebrows went up. “Yea?”
“Well, how did you find one? Did you ask around at work? Call Miss Jane?”
Sara lowered her head and mumbled, “I Googled it.”
“Excuse me, what? I didn’t catch that.”
She looked up at his smug look and repeated, louder, “I Googled it.”
James laughed out loud. Then he sat down on the steps next to her and laughed even louder, until Sara forgot her embarrassment and laughed with him.
“That’s awesome,” James said, after catching his breath. “Was it hard?”
“No, not really. But then this girl, Claire came in and told me about her daughter and showed me these pictures of this adorable little girl all covered in icing and I thought, I’m going to be a MOM.” Sara put her hands on her face. “Oh, James…I’m going to be a mom.”
He put his arm around her and squeezed her shoulder. “And you’ll be a great one. Come on, let’s go celebrate. I’ll buy you dinner.”
“Nope, I’m buying.”
“That’s my other news. This guy from William’s work came by and brought me his last check, including his time off pay! With you in the house and this money…I feel better than I have in a while. So, I’m paying.”
“I’m glad you said that, because payday actually isn’t until Friday.”