Wednesday's Child

Wednesday's Child by Alan Zendell

Book: Wednesday's Child by Alan Zendell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Alan Zendell
while you were with a different version of me in another universe on your Wednesday?” 
    Her horrified expression made me reach for her trembling hands and she continued.  “Then, I thought, maybe that’s not it at all.  Maybe your buddy Franklin called in the middle of the night and you had to leave without telling me.”  She must have been too far into sleep to hear what I’d said about William, Tuesday night.
    Ilene was to have been the principal speaker at an all-day conference in New Brunswick on Wednesday, scheduled to talk at 9:00, after which she was to run panel discussions all day.  She’d called my office line and my cell phone but got my voice mail each time.  Then she’d showered and dressed, feeling the whole time like she was an observer in her own body. 
    “I thought about calling Jim, but I knew if you were with Franklin, you wouldn’t have told Jim and not me.  And if you’d skipped Wednesday, the only person I could tell was Jerry, but I wasn’t about to call him until I had more to go on.”
    My heart ached over what she’d endured, but I also noticed how much she sounded like I had a week earlier.  She wasn’t really making sense, either.  Even if I’d skipped Wednesday, I was bound to return to it after Thursday.  But I just let her talk.
    “I don’t know how I got through the day.  I can’t even remember delivering my speech and leading those damn panels.  I checked my cell phone for messages during every break.  A dozen times I nearly called the police to report you missing.  What if you’d just gone out early to get coffee and been in an accident?  When the conference ended, I didn’t know whether to be more worried or angry with you.  I was sitting in my car trying to decide what to do when you finally called.”
    She stopped, her manner saying she was done and she expected me to say something.  Then it dawned on her.  “You don’t remember calling me, do you.  You haven’t experienced that yet.  God, Dylan, I don’t know how long I can live this way.”
    “I know.”
    My head swirled with emotions.  I hated seeing her suffer this way, hated even more feeling helpless to do anything about it.  But there was something else, a mixture of awe and elation over what this implied.  It proved I wasn’t crazy.  I really was living my days out of order. Ilene knew it too, now, and that left me strangely calm.
    I pulled her to me, holding her tight.  “I wish I could make this easier for you.  Maybe we can figure out a way to leave messages for each other so you don’t worry so much.”  Having Jerry for support might help, but I didn’t say that, either.
    She extricated herself from my arms, not saying anything, her mind obviously racing off in a new direction. The frightened look I’d seen a few minutes earlier returned. 
    “What is it?”
    “I was just thinking.  I know some of what you’re going to do today and what you’ll do tomorrow, your Wednesday, I mean.  But you said you have free will and you can change some things.  What if everything about today changes and you don’t wake up in Saint Vincent’s on Wednesday, and…”
    “What?”  God, something terrible must have happened.  “How did I wind up in the hospital?”
    She drew a long breath.  “You called me at about six o’clock and asked me to pick you up in the parking lot outside the E.R.  You sounded awful, disoriented.  I found you waiting there, dressed in a hospital robe, looking terrible.  Your forehead was bandaged and there were fresh scabs on your chin and jaw.  The right side of your face looked like a lobster shell.
    “You were so unsteady getting into the car I thought you were going to pass out.  Your head hurt and thinking too hard made you dizzy.  You said you’d skipped days and Franklin called late Thursday morning, a quick response thing about a ship berthed at a marine terminal on Staten Island.  You couldn’t remember what happened but you were

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