Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction
Things ChangeSheila sat on the edge of her bed, staring at nothing. Really she was staring at a photograph of her and Jim. A photograph of them on their wedding day, outside the church - he in his tuxedo, she in her gown, their faces lit up with indescribable joy. But since she wasn't aware that she was looking at the photograph, and wasn't really seeing it, it isn't wrong to say she was staring at nothing.
She'd had to take a test this morning - a test that was completely unexpected. She and Jim had only been married for three months, and it didn't seem right or reasonable that she should be taking this particular test so soon. And, truth to tell, she wasn't even sure which was pass, which was fail.
Oh, she understood the mechanics of it. Minus means no. Plus means "guess what lady, your life is going to change in ways you can't even imagine in the next nine months!"
No, it wasn't that she didn't understand how to interpret the test results. She just didn't know whether she wanted to be pregnant. It was one of those peculiar situations where she knew that, until she stood there looking at a faint blue symbol, she wouldn't know for sure what she was hoping for. But once she saw it, she would know.
She didn't. Which is why she was sitting on the bed, staring at nothing. First she laughed, then she cried. Then she laughed again. Then she sat there doing nothing, thinking nothing - only wishing that Jim would get home from work soon, so she could tell him and see how he reacted.
But that wasn't fair either. What did she plan to do? Watch his reaction and use that as a cue to decide how she was going to feel about it? Wasn't that putting a bit too much weight on Jim's shoulders? She was an intelligent woman, and she didn't need her husband to tell her how she felt about this.
What if she decided she wasn't happy about it, and he was? What if it went the other way? What if he didn't think they should have the baby, and she did? What if? What if?
Something in her yearned for those old fashioned days when there was no question what would happen, regardless of how a husband or wife felt.
Now she was no longer sitting on the bed. Aware at last of what she was staring at, she crossed the bedroom and stood in front of the picture. "Hello handsome," she said, touching Jim's smiling face. "We're going to have a baby. Aren't you excited?"
Jim smiled. Then, after a moment, she smiled back at him. "Yeah, me too, baby."
She laughed. Not because she was talking to a photograph, but because she realized something about their tiny little house. "Bad news is, we're going to have to turn your office into a nursery for the little one."
True to form, Jim continued to smile.
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