Friday, February 5, 2016

Test Time

Her hands shook as she looked at the package. The last time she'd gone through this same ritual had been eight years ago. Young, wild and free, a mother to two small children. She'd gleefully ripped the cardboard sides of the box and plunged the tip into the stream. Now, the thudding of her heart beneath her sternum overwhelmed her and she felt as though the organ might rip through her chest before she had the chance to actually take the test.

He came up behind her and wrapped his long arms around her waist. "You don't know what it's going to say, baby."

"Yes, I do." She stiffened against his back.

"But how can you? Even you said you had no symptoms."

She looked at their reflections in the mirror and watched as her eyebrows rose on their own. A quirk to her lips and a challenge in her eyes. "I can't explain how, I just know." She moved toward the toilet and sank on its seat before placing the test on the bathroom counter.

He knelt down in front of her. "You need to take it though. We need to know." Lifting her hands to his lips, he placed a light kiss on her knuckles.

"I know, babe. Can I have some privacy, please?"

He left the small space and she shrunk as her anxiety increased. She closed the bathroom door and leaned against it, the wood panels supporting her weight. Her breathing rate sped up as she placed the plastic applicator between her fingers. Had anyone hyperventilated while taking a pregnancy test? Should she ask for him to get her a paper bag? Did she really want to know the outcome? If she didn't take the test, would it mean that it might not be true?

She lowered herself to the toilet while trying to keep the tears at bay. Two minutes and it would all be over, she thought. A laugh escaped her mouth as she realized that being over held multiple meanings. The moment would be over. Her life as she knew it would be over. Her marriage might be over, too. A tear plopped onto the rim of the toilet, rolled over the edge, and joined the water below it.

She didn't need a test to tell her what she already knew: that at 40 years of age she was pregnant, with a baby that she'd been trying to avoid having. But she went through the motions, then, just to confirm that she indeed held life within her.

After doing what she needed to do, she placed the applicator on the counter and washed her hands. She counted in her head as the seconds ticked by, but with each second, a new image flashed into her memory. Tiny fingers. Tiny toes. Onesies with snaps. Crocheted booties. Knitted winter hats with flaps. Binkies. The smell of baby shampoo on the top of a peach-fuzz covered head. The feel of soft baby skin up against her full breasts. Her breath hitched when she looked at the plus sign, so clear and apparent, against the white background.

Despite the heart that had never stopped beating against her chest. Despite the beads of sweat that had broken out across her flushed forehead. Despite the feeling that everything as she knew it was going to change, she coudn't help but smile.

(Note: This is loosely inspired by events that are not my life events, the details of which I am not privy to. This was simply an exercise in writing. Oh, and I AM NOT PREGNANT.)