*The Empty Wrapper

imgres-2I took teeny bites of the protein bar as I watched the screen showing my husband’s vital signs. Different colored graphs scrolled by on a continuous roller coaster but no alarms were ringing so I figured things must be stable. His eyes were closed and his breathing was even. I folded the empty wrapper into a small square and put it in my pocket.

We’d just spent a week in Annapolis, Maryland at the longest running and biggest sailboat show in the United States.  We walked miles and talked for hours to different vendors about systems and products to enhance our future lifestyle of living off the grid and circumnavigating the globe. Solar panels to create our own electricity, celestial navigation books, battery monitors, a stainless steel folding swim ladder, “marriage saver” headsets for bow to stern communication, and lots and lots of conversations with other sailors.

Sharing a house with other cruising couples was cost effective and fun, but it also meant virtually no private or down time. There was lots of story swapping, laughing and rum. It had been an exciting and exhausting trip and we were more than ready to head back to our floating home and little dog.

We were moving slowly through the TSA line when suddenly Aaron stopped mid-stride. He wobbled a bit and put his hand on a stanchion to steady himself.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I’m dizzy.”
“Look at me,” I said, grabbing his shoulder. His eyes were darting furiously back and forth, unfocused.
“I’m going to fall,” he mumbled.
“Sit down,” I said, helping him to the ground.

On the floor, he attracted attention quickly. A doctor in line with us assisted with getting Aaron to lay down and took his pulse and a couple called for a TSA agent to call a medic. Airport security arrived and then paramedics and a fire truck. His blood pressure was high and he continued to be woozy so the decision was made to transport him to the emergency room of the local hospital to run tests.

I rode with him in the ambulance, rescheduled then cancelled our flight home. Found a nearby hotel. Texted my daughter and Aaron’s dad. Kept the worry from my face and voice as we waited for the test results. Told him everything would be fine.

The doctor’s diagnosis was an extreme bout of vertigo, which my husband has never experienced. Hell, he loves skydiving and doesn’t even get seasick in huge, rolling seas! We spent the night in a hotel without our luggage and endured a long day of travel with multiple stops to finally arrive home.

Home. Our floating paradise. He’s my Captain and I’m his First Mate. If a storm rolls through I am confident that one of us will step up to the helm, adjust our sails and our course as needed, to get us both back to safety … at sea or on land.

Written for the To Live & Write in Alameda November 2019 “Flash Lit” Challenge #6. We had three days to write a piece of fiction, non-fiction or poetry of 500 words or less to the theme “The Empty Wrapper” and post the link in our group. 

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