I, Sissy Ann Brubeck, at last have a mission in my life. This is not something that I am doing to please my husband or children, and especially not my mother-in-law, just me. Well, actually I am really doing it for Serina Knowles. I am going to Alabama and save her. She is the woman that has been on life support forever so long, and now her husband wants to pull the plug on her. He just can’t do that to her. She is a living breathing person, and she deserves to have a life. That is why I am speeding down I-65 right now to save her.
I have been following her story for weeks on television and in the papers. The National Enquirer has the best coverage, but I am not allowed to spend money on such silliness. So I read the headlines. According to my husband Jeb we need to be very careful with our money because he will soon need a new bass boat. While checking out at the supermarket last week I had noticed that Serina had slipped from the front cover, so I suspected that something was up. People were forgetting about her, it was like she didn’t exist anymore. To be honest, I guess I forgot a little bit too. In my defense I have a lot of work and responsibility. But I got a sign today that it was time to take action.
I have a lot of information on Serina from the newspapers and such. We are the same age, 40. Our lives are half over. We were graduating from high school and getting married about the same time. She went on to college and I put Jeb through college. We weren’t alike in that respect. We each have two children; they are almost the same age. She was an elementary school teacher; that was my ambition before I became a housewife. Serina volunteered at the food pantry and was an artist in her spare time. She also liked to travel. Someday I’ll have time to do those sorts of things. I wonder if she ever sat around and worried that if she died no one would even notice that she was gone like I do. I guess I just get strange ideas sometimes. It must be the change or something.
I know that my husband Jeb will be upset. I am expected to maintain a pretty strict schedule at home to keep everyone’s lives running smoothly. They will just have to understand. Jeb can just eat a bowl of Lucky Charms for breakfast like most normal husbands do. All of that bacon and eggs is bad for his cholesterol anyway. He may even adjust to not having his sheets washed and ironed every day. The kids will just have to do their own homework for a change. It will be good for them. This task of saving Serina may take days, even weeks. I feel like I can call her Serina since I am doing all of this traveling to save her. And besides, we have this cosmic bond.
Now it’s not like I don’t love my family and enjoy being a mother, but sometimes I think my family might take advantage of me. I have won first prize in eight different science fairs with the projects that I have designed and built. I have absolutely perfected the paper mache volcano project. I clip my husband’s toenails. I closely and lovingly supervise every aspect of my children’s lives. I never let my children watch Pee Wee Herman or the Teletubbies when they were small to make sure neither one of them would grow up to be gay. I cook dinner every night. Since Jeb and I have been married I have never spent a night away from him or my children. Surely after all I have done for them they will understand that I need to do this one thing for myself. I think that fending for themselves will be a good experience for them. Children need to also learn independence. Maybe they will appreciate me a little more.
I would call my family and let tell them what I’m doing, but I don’t have a cell phone. My husband Jeb says that I don’t need one because I’m always either at home or the grocery store. He knows where to find me if he needs something. I have to admit that in this day and time it’s a little embarrassing to be paged in the Wal-Mart for a phone call. People look at you kind of pitiful like. The last time Jeb paged me at the store all he wanted was to remind me to buy some fish bait. Jeb doesn’t like for household responsibilities to cut into his free time.
I do hope that I have a made the right decision in leaving like I did. I’ve never done anything like this before. I was ironing Jeb’s socks and heard on the radio that Serina’s husband was going to pull the plug on her. It was quick, just a mention between the weather and the baseball scores. I could not believe it, something so fleeting and precious as someone’s life turning into nothing more that a few words squeezed in because there was a little extra time. It was like she was filler, an afterthought. It just flew all over me. We all have so much to live for, so many things we need to accomplish before we die. I can’t believe her cold, unfeeling husband could possibly want to be rid of her. Does he not love her at all? What about her children? Children need their mother. Her husband should have more respect for her. I’ll just bet that he wants to marry someone else. Since Serina can no longer cook and run errands she is no longer useful to the family. It does not matter that she is in a vegetative state, she is still alive. She is probably finding it very restful for no one to have any expectations of her for a change. Anyway, I just unplugged that iron, packed my Bible and a few necessities and left, just like that. I figure that God will provide anything else that I need.
I’d like to stop for something to eat, but I can’t waste any of my money. I’ll have to be very careful if I’m going to make it all the way to Alabama. I’m using this week’s grocery money to finance saving Serina. Jeb says that I don’t need much spending money, because I don’t need anything. The kids get more allowance than I do. If he doesn’t give them money they blab the fact at church, and it makes him look bad. Jeb’s a deacon; he has a reputation to keep up. I swear, sometimes I think that if it weren’t for appearances my family would not exist at all.
I just heard on the radio that Serina is still alive. They interrupted a song to give a special news bulletin; at last she is getting a little respect for a change. If she can just hang on until I get there, I will save her. I know I can convince her husband that she needs to live. I will find the words when the time comes to change his mind. I’ll just bet there will be other people in Alabama and the rest of the world that value human life too. We will take control of the situation. We will make her husband see things the way they really are. It does not matter what he wants.
I seem to be getting sleepy. This will not do. It is a long way to Alabama. I’ll stop at this exit for gas and get some coffee so I can wake up. That will have to do until I get to Serina. Now why on earth is this state trooper puling in behind me? I was not speeding; I used my turn signals and everything. Jeb is very adamant that I don’t ever speed or violate other traffic rules. It would make his insurance rates go up too much if I were to get a ticket.
“Ma’am, are you Sissy Brubeck?” Well, he seems like a nice enough young man. The uniform makes him kind of scary though.
“Why, yes I am. Why do you ask?”
“Well, your husband is looking for you Miz Brubeck. He is concerned about you. You need to call your family so they know you are okay.”
The very idea! I can’t believe that Jeb is doing this to me. Why can’t he let me have this one thing for myself?
“Okay, I’ll just give him a call after I get where I’m going.” I was not about to admit to this nice young man that my husband did not deem me worthy of owning a cell phone.
“Maybe you should call right now. You can use my phone.”
The nice young man dialed my number from a slip of paper and handed the phone to me. I tried to act naturally. I could tell that he was carefully watching me for any sign of mental defect. The phone rang and rang. Of course it did, I was not there to answer it; no one else in the family ever answers the phone. After fifteen rings I triumphantly handed the phone back to the police officer.
“Well, they must not be that concerned, no one seems to be home.”
He put his ear to the phone and listened to it ring for a few seconds. He studied me carefully for several moments. I’m wondering what Jeb has told the police in order to have them looking for me the way they are. The trooper sighs as he makes his final decision.
“Okay Miz Brubeck. Drive carefully and keep trying to get in touch with your family.”
“I’ll certainly do that officer.”
I fill up my gas tank at the next exit and get some coffee to keep me awake. I pour some of that sweet Carnation creamer into my cup and then I say to myself that I have a lot of important things that I need to take care of. It might be a while before I get back around to housework. Right now I am on my way to Alabama to save Serina Knowles. My family will just have to wait their turn for once.