A Few Minutes, Ep. 9: Sleigh Bells


He sat quietly next to the hospital bed, holding the hand of his dying mother. The thump-hiss of the ventilator and steady high pitch beep of the heart monitor, with its neon green peaks, plateaus and valleys, slowly hypnotized his emotionally-fatigued mind and he lightly closed his eyes.

“Do you hear the sleigh bells, son?” she asked.

He opened his eyes and strained against the quietude, “No, Mama, I don’t.”

“Well listen – they’re there.”

“I can’t hear them, Mama”

Again he allowed his eye-lids to gently fall together.

“There, right there,” she said again, adding, “Can’t you hear them?”

He turned his head and cocked it upward slightly, “No, Mama, I can’t hear them. I think you’ve been dreaming.”

As silence fell between mother and son, she cried out, “Don’t tell me you can’t hear them now. They’re so close!”

Patiently he listened. Then much to his surprise he heard the faint jangle and jingle of sleigh bells as the horses’ high stepped along their way.

“I can hear them, Mama,” he smiled.

She smiled too, and allowed her grown child to rest his eyes once more. Soon the gentle ringing of the dainty bells came to an abrupt stop.

“I’m going for a ride, son. Wanna come along?”

He watched as her frail body slipped from the bed and crossed the floor. The sight warmed his heart.

“No, Mama. You go and  I’ll join you when you come back ’round.”

“Okay,” she called out, “Love you, son. See real you soon.”

He listened as the bells faded from his hearing. They were quickly replaced by the maddening peel of beeps, buzzes and high pitched whining.

He opened his eyes to a room that was a swirling mass of movement; nurses rushed to begin chest compressions, turning off noise-making machines and emergency calls for the doctor. He released her hand and step back towards the corner of the room near the window.

As he watched the scene unfold before him, he heard the soft chatter of sleigh bells chiming somewhere off in the distance. It was then that he felt the stinging burn of tears and the sudden salty taste as they spilled from his eyes, raced down his cheeks, finding their way to his lips, chin and eventually the floor.

One thought on “A Few Minutes, Ep. 9: Sleigh Bells”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.