My last entry reminded me that I hadn’t posted this story here. Hopefully, it’s the last of the Al stories.
I found out that my stepfather was having an affair with the wife of my mother’s first cousin the day my husband set himself on fire. You just can’t make this stuff up.
I got the call while at work: “I am calling from St. Mary’s Hospital. Your husband as been in an accident.”
“What kind of accident? Is he okay?” My voice was trembling.
“I don’t have all the details, but I know that he’s been badly burned. He is in an ambulance on the way to the burn unit at Doctors Hospital in Augusta. We don’t have the facilities to treat him here.”
I must have made a loud noise of some kind because people had started to gather around my cube, concerned looks on their faces. I frantically grabbed my things and called my sister on the way to my car. She told me that she was on her way and would drive me to the hospital.
My mind was swarming. Burned. I didn’t know where or to what degree. I didn’t know if he was conscious, if he still had a face, if he was dying. My sister arrives and as we start our trip she informs me that our mother, who lives 600 miles away, has called and is on her way. Al, our stepfather, and Gramma (who was down from Michigan for an extended stay) were going to be with her. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. “Did you tell her that wasn’t necessary? That I don’t even know if he’s that bad?” Of course, I know my sister has told her all these things and more, but mom insisted on coming.
I get a call from one of the EMTs in my husband’s ambulance. He will be okay. He’s conscious. His hands and stomach are burned, mostly second and third degree. They let me talk to him and as soon as I hear his voice, strained, but strong, most of my nerves stop jangling. He has a voice, which means he has lips. I can work with this. I get the first of the details, too. He was refueling the lawnmower, and the gas ignited.