Nine Months Takes A Lifetime

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A tale about how scary the idea of being a parent can really be.

Submitted: March 20, 2014

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Submitted: March 20, 2014

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Nine months is a long time, I thought to myself. I sat stunned as Amber ran around excitedly carrying her little test kit. This morning she complained of feeling sick, but I never thought anything of it.  I came home from work with a packet of Mylanta to settle her stomach. Expecting to find her huddled over a sink, I instead found her staring at a box with such wonder and awe. There it was, as clear as the smile on her face…

I was going to be a father.

We were still young, recently married and attempting to make a life for ourselves. We couldn’t afford this, we didn’t know the first thing about being parents. Amber never worried about that. No, all she worried about was what colour to paint the spare room. I suggested getting a blood test. I lied and said we shouldn’t get excited and have our hopes crushed. In truth, I hoped it was false. How could I tell her that though? It would break her heart. I did want to have children, but not right then. It wasn’t convenient.

We sat in that waiting room, listening to the cries of sick babies and screeches of little children protesting being there. I stared at the baby in the pram beside me. Its little brown eyes stared at me, through me. It knew I feared it. Sensed my uncertainty. Amber cooed over it, stated how cute she thought it was. I didn’t see it. They baby began to screech. It was a bad omen. Finally we were called. Despite my hopes and best effort to stay positive, it fell flat.

She was definitely pregnant.

A month passed. I watched as Amber rubbed her belly gently. A wide grin spread across her face as she looked eagerly in the mirror. She had taken to this idea faster than a fish to water. Something about Amber always shouted mother. She had so much love to give, such a kind heart. Not many people in my life were like her.
 “Do you think people will notice?” she asked, hoping her bump stood out like a beacon.
“I doubt it honey, it’s only been a month.” Her tiny bump wasn’t as big as she hoped, with baggy clothes on it wasn’t even noticeable. I was still uneasy about the whole thing, but not wanting to upset her I smiled and pretended to be excited. It all seemed like a bad dream, a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from.

One day I came home from work and found in my study a tiny bed. It was oddly shaped, more like a basket. I stared at it. The child was not even here and already I was being forcibly moved out of my study. But what could I do, what could I say? The child was already invading my life.

 

Another two months passed. There was no denying that Amber was pregnant, not with a mountain growing out of her belly. I never stopped finding her attractive though, I wasn’t that much of a monster. What did start to change my feelings for her though, was her mood swings. She started to break down over the slightest of things. She would cry over stupid films and yell over a dirty dish. She used to be fun, we would laugh and joke till the sun rose, now all that mattered was her own problems.  

Or rather, all that mattered, was that bump.

I could feel the bump tearing us apart. It was like a wall, pushing and pushing, creating an unbreakable divide. Even as we slept, I would try to embrace her, and there it was, blocking me. As the bump grew, so did the space between us
 “Why don’t you treat me like you used to? Don’t you love me anymore?” she would cry in desperation.
“Oh for God’s sake Amber, I’m still with you aren’t I? Obviously I still love you or I wouldn’t stick around.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“You know what I mean.” She stood stunned, her eyes widened. Her hands moved to her belly; she knew very well what I meant. She mouthed the word baby.

We yelled for what seemed like an eternity. All the tension was the intruder’s fault.
“You never wanted the baby, did you!” she accused rather than questioned. I stood silent.
You asshole! I bet you wished I didn’t keep the baby.” That did it.
 “Well, maybe things would be the same as they used to! You wouldn’t be such a bitch all the time! That, that THING has ruined our lives!”
Amber stood there, silent. It seemed forever before she walked to the door. She left me. I didn’t chase after her. What right did I have?

Days passed, I heard nothing from her. She never answered her phone. A week passed, and she came back. I begged her to forgive me, promised her I didn’t mean it. She wouldn’t believe me. She grabbed some clothes and packed her bag, then attempted to leave again. In desperation I tried to make her stop. As she left our bedroom and headed for the front door, I reached out for her. I grabbed her arm and continued to beg. She struggled. I began to cry. She struggled further, and then it happened. She pulled away from me, and stumbled backwards.

I never realized how close to the stairs she was…

I immediately ran down to her. She was moving, but her face was in complete horror. She held her belly and looked at me. She mouthed the words the baby. I rushed her to the emergency room, trying as hard as I could to not break down. They took her away. I called out that I loved her, but she said nothing. I didn’t know what to do. This was my fault, all of it. Time passed by so slowly. Finally, they told me I could see her.

Everything was alright, they were both alright. She was asleep when I walked in. I sat beside her and cried, apologizing for everything. Amber awoke to the sounds of my sobs. She stroked my hair. I looked up at her, then embraced her.
“Ooh.” Amber jumped slightly, holding her belly. I jumped, panic filling me - what had I done? She smiled.
“The baby, the baby is kicking.”
All the worry left me. I cautiously placed my hand on her belly. For the first time in the past few months, I felt warmth towards this bump. It was no longer a bump, no longer an intruder. It was a baby, my baby.
“I can, I can feel it!” I exclaimed. “I can feel him kicking me.”
My heart burst with such love and it showed, Amber smiled so warmly at me. Our bond, it was fixed, thanks to that one little kick.
“Who says it’s a boy?”
 I couldn’t help but hope that my little baby was going to be a son. I suddenly had images rush through my mind of a little boy. Teaching him how to play rugby, about girls, all the manly stuff that would help us bond. One day watching him grow up and becoming a man, getting married and having his own children. I saw our whole life together.
 “He can be whatever he wants to be,” I laughed.

It was only a month to go now. From wishing everyone could tell she was pregnant to hiding away her giant baby belly. Another thing changed as well, I was attempting to be the best husband and to-be father as possible.
“Nothing fits!” Amber screamed.
Throwing her nice clothes aside, she’d settle for a flower dress. In my opinion, it made her look beautiful, warm and glowing like a ray of sun.
“I’m wearing a muumuu! A god dammed muumuu!” she began to cry. I held her, pressing her head to my chest. I listened to her sobs. Her mood swings never did calm. But none of it bothered me. It would all get better soon enough.

The time finally came.
“It’s time!” she screamed late one evening.
I couldn’t help but panic. She calmly told me where her bags were and waddled to the car. I could tell she was terrified, but hid it so well. It seemed like hours before something actually began to happen.

The doctor encouraged breathing and pushing, breathing and pushing. Amber held in. I helped as best I could by encouraging her, cheering her, telling her how proud I was of her. I kept saying I loved her, hoping it would give her the emotional strength she needed.
“I can’t do it! I just can’t!” she cried to me. I held her hand as tightly as I could, making sure she knew I was there for her.

 “Yes you can, bring our baby to us Amber! You can do it!”
Finally, after all her hard work. After all our stress, pain and heartache, her little bump became a baby.

Our little baby.

Amber held our baby in her arms first. It was a little girl. She was so beautiful. Amber and I discussed that if we had a daughter she would be named Hannah, after my Grandmother. Amber turned to me, she looked so tired and yet somehow still was so beautiful.
“Do you want to meet your daughter?”

I took her in my arms. As I looked down into her little pink face I saw different images than what I had seen a few months ago. I saw a little girl, playing with dolls and having tea parties. I would teach her how to tie her shoe laces, perhaps not play rugby but instead take her to dance recitals. Listen to her tell me about her worries. I would also protect her from any boys who would attempt to hurt her. I would one day walk her down the aisle, she would look as lovely as her mother did. I’d kiss her goodbye and lead her to her future husband, a good man. I saw her whole life and mine in her bright blue eyes. She was my little angel. I whispered I love you to Amber while she rested her eyes, then kissed my baby girl. I loved them both with all my heart. I didn’t love one more than the other, I loved Amber as much as I always did, my heart just grew so I could love Hannah just as much.

Nine months is a long time, but this moment lasted a lifetime….


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