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Fiction

Spring

Just need to get this last screw in place and the baby’s furniture is assembled. I have a week of rest to look forward to while Jerry assumes all the housework. The last couple of weeks Jerry has been making snide remarks when he gets home from work, he works so hard all day while I get to lounge around the house. A week’s worth of doing everything I do around the house should cure him.

I can just feel it, the new life attaching itself to me, feeding off me as it grows. This month is the month that pregnancy test will announce I’m pregnant. I was sure I would already be well along my first pregnancy at this point. Mom got pregnant on her honeymoon. I’ve had six months of negative pregnancy tests. This month is different, I feel puffy, and tired. Jerry’s sister Gail said the first sign she was pregnant was feeling tired. She also said she couldn’t stand to smell food cooking.

For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a Mom. Every birthday and Christmas all I wanted was baby dolls, furniture, and clothing. I would change them every night and tuck them into bed. I declared to mom I wanted six babies. Mom told me real babies squirm when you are changing them, so it takes longer. I decided I would only have three babies then, just like my mom.

Before I started school, I would start my day changing and feeding my babies before we started our busy day. On my first day of school mom told me she would be my nanny and look after the babies during the day. Every time I came home from school the babies had been put down for their nap and mom had put them in the jammies for the nap. Eventually, I figured out mom wasn’t playing with them like I did, I still told her anything I noticed like little Sally having the sniffles.

It was in high school we were assigned a baby simulator for a weekend. I loved every minute of that assignment. The crying during the night was something I had to adjust to, I just told myself that they do grow out of it. I’ve also researched a program that puts the baby on a schedule so they start sleeping through the night quickly.

My best friend Suzie didn’t enjoy the assignment. She complained about dropping whatever she was doing whenever the baby cried and then trying to figure out what the baby wanted so it would stop crying. It didn’t matter what she tried first, holding the baby, feeding the baby, changing the baby, it seemed she just couldn’t figure out what the baby wanted. That was when she made up her mind, she was not going to be a mom unless she had enough money to have a nanny.

Suzie was my made-of-honor. The first couple of months she asked me every day if getting married was what I really wanted to do when I hadn’t even lived. Suzie had moved to the city by then and had her foot on the first rung of her career ladder. Handling projects in the office is easier than trying to decode what a baby is asking for.

I wanted to get married right after high school. Jerry and I started dating our junior year and I knew on our first date we were meant to be together. I told mom I had met my future husband after our first date. Mom just smiled and told me to enjoy dating because I had plenty of time before settling down with only one. I knew though, Jerry is the one for me and I’m the one for Jerry.

It was our parents that told us they would not help us get married right after high school. Jerry had been accepted to college. Wasn’t it a shame I didn’t want to continue my education and explore what it is like to be in college. I cried and cried until I couldn’t make any tears. I begged Jerry to elope. He could still go to school and I would get our home together. I could work and pick up the stuff we would need to set up house. It was Jerry who decided we could work my plan without getting married first.

I think our parents hoped we would split up once Jerry went to college. When Jerry was home his mom would ask about different girls he had met in college. I didn’t care. I knew that Jerry would always come back to me.

I got a job at the convenience store and another one at the local dollar store. Mom thought I should start paying rent and part of the utilities, but dad said I had plenty of time for all of that, so I was able to save most of my salary. My new hobby was looking for sales and scouring yard sales for items we would need in our future home.

 The wedding wiped out the savings and I hadn’t purchased any of the big-ticket items. Family and friends have pitched in by giving us furniture they weren’t using, or they were getting ready to redecorate so we got their old furniture. The TVs in the living room and down in the part of the basement that is furnished, Jerry’s man cave, and the mattress for our bed, a gift from Jerry’s parents, are the only new items in the house.

Well, now there is the baby’s furniture in the nursery, that is new. I found it on sale, and it is the three-piece set that was in my dreams, so I knew it was meant for us. It is the only thing I’ve charged on our credit card we agreed would be used only for emergencies. Jerry didn’t agree that the baby’s furniture was an emergency expense but relented when I told him we couldn’t return it.

He just refused to put it together until I am pregnant. That’s when I told him I would assemble it myself and he said he would do all of the housework for a week if I could do it without his help.

Time to collect on that bet.

Summer

I was hoping we would be able to buy the clothes for our first born. I can understand using those that survive in good shape for the following children, makes sense to do that with the way babies outgrow their clothes within a few months. I guess it was nice of Gail to give us all of the clothes she has collected from her two pregnancies.

Gail brought three large storage containers. She said she told Jerry she would be around, but he must have forgotten to tell me. “Where else would you be but at home,” she said while handing me the first of the containers so we could carry them up to the nursery.

“You will need these one day. Not everyone gets to plan their pregnancy, I know it happened sooner than I had planned.” Gail placed her hand on her hips and looked around the nursery giving a nod. At least Gail approves of the nursery. “I’ve had my last.” Gail said after declining a glass of iced tea. Gail stopped by on her way to get a bag of frozen corn for Barry to use. “He’s a little sore after getting his tubes snipped. It’s worth it to know I’m done having babies.”

Now I’m surrounded by the baby clothes sorting them into piles by size. There is a mountain of them and some of them still have their tags. Clothes given to them but too small to use.

I taste the salt of my tears sliding down my cheeks. I’ve given up wiping them away, concentrating on sorting through the clothes, another reminder that I’m still not pregnant. Why is it not happening to me when it happens so easily for others?

Last night I asked Jerry if he thought we should get tested to see if there is a reason we are having trouble conceiving. Big mistake. Jerry’s eyes doubled in size and he sputtered for a full minute before he could form words. Jerry demanded to know how long it had been since I stopped taking birth control. “How can we afford a baby when we are barely afloat now?”

 I had the bed to myself last night.

This morning over breakfast Jerry said he will be catching the game with a friend tonight. No reason for me to wait up for him. If he comes in late, he will just sleep on the couch again so I can get a good night’s sleep.

Things will be better once I’m pregnant. Jerry will realize we can make it all work and having a son or daughter is the piece that has been missing in our lives. At least now we have clothes for either a son or daughter.

Fall

My cheeks are still burning. The shame of being told the credit card is maxed out when I went to pay for that present. Now I need to find something I’m willing to part with from the stuff I have set aside for our baby.

Next time I see Jerry I’ll have a word with him about the credit card being maxed out. I haven’t charged anything on it since I got the nursery furniture. Jerry turned beet red as he repeated that the credit card was only for emergencies. What emergency have we had to max out the card?

There is no money in our bank account either, not after paying our bills, not even enough to purchase groceries this week. Usually there is about a hundred left. When I mentioned needing money for groceries this morning Jerry just said we would have to stretch what we have and then said he would be at his friend’s house tonight, watching the game.

I can pull out that unopened pack of onesies but the invite specified bringing a toy for the baby.

Betty is the first one from my class to have a baby shower. “If you want to see people at your baby shower you have to attend their showers.” Gail said when I showed her the invitation. I can’t believe Betty got pregnant from a one-night stand. She doesn’t even remember the name of the father-to-be.

She doesn’t even want the baby, not really. Her first reaction was to put the baby up for adoption. Having a baby right now just wasn’t part of Betty’s plan. Then Betty’s mom announced she would be retiring and could move in with Betty, be the nanny. Betty’s boss is also supportive creating a room for nursing mothers and setting up a policy for maternity leave.

Betty’s mom wanted to have three kids like my mom, but she was only able to carry Betty to term.

So, what to sacrifice? Not the rattle, I want that for our baby. What about the baby gym? No, that is the most expensive thing I purchased if you don’t count the furniture.

Suzie bought Betty a diaper cake. Something decorative for the party and every part of it or almost every part of it will be useful for the baby. There will be another baby cake made up of essentials like bibs, more diapers (can’t have too many diapers), socks, sippy cup, baby shampoo, and a teddy bear.

Keep it together Niki. Any time now you will be pregnant, your baby shower planned, bringing home diaper cakes, toys and clothes for the baby.

What about baby’s first book? I grabbed it on sale plus I think I have a gift card tucked away in my jewelry box. That should be enough for a presentable present at the party.

Just need a quick shower and change before heading out. Mom said she has baby shower gift wrap in her workshop and there should be a card that will work.

Winter

Where did that packing tape get to now? I swear it sprouts legs every time I put it down and scampers off playing some twisted game of hide-n-seek.

All I want to do is crawl into my bed, my bed in my parents’ house where I felt safe and protected. I want to feel safe and protected again. The way I used to feel with Jerry. The way I’ll never feel again.

I’m so tired. I just don’t have any energy, not since Jerry told me he was leaving, leaving me for his friend he has been catching all those games with. Leaving me for the friend who is now pregnant with Jerry’s baby.

Jerry didn’t even tell me to my face. He arranged for us to have dinner with my parents and said he would meet me there. Then he called. It is just one of those things. We aren’t good for each other. I’ll be better off without him. One day I’ll find a guy who appreciates me. He needed to take responsibility for his new family. She is having his baby and he needs to be there for the baby.

I get first pick of all our stuff; the least Jerry could do for me. The only limit it put was I couldn’t take anything that was his like his clothes. I don’t want his clothes. I don’t want anything that will remind me of him. Mom is in Jerry’s and my bedroom packing my clothes and jewelry for me.

I’m taking everything for the baby including the clothes Gail gave us. I’m the one who was home to accept them. I’m the one who sorted them and put them in the drawers waiting for when I gave birth to our baby. Waiting for me to bring out baby into our nursery, the room Jerry never went into.

I need to think about my future according to dad. I’ve already wasted too much time on Jerry. It’s time I figure out what I want to do with my life instead of revolving around someone who doesn’t appreciate how special I am. The problem is I’ve only dreamed of raising children with Jerry for so many years I feel I’ve stepped into an abyss where I have no purpose or direction.

Mom says it will get easier. I’ll have to morn the death of my marriage. Once I have laid all of my dreams for the future to rest then I’ll be able to create my new future. She offered to pay for therapy sessions to give me some guidance through the process.

Tonight, mom has planned on making my favorite meal, Beef Stroganoff, followed by apple pie. She’s worried I’ve barely ate anything the last couple of days, just some dry toast and tea. Just the smell of food cooking is enough to make me feel like throwing up. If I don’t feel better in a day or two, I’ll have to head to the doctor and see if I can get some antibiotics to kick this bug.

First, I need to finish getting the nursery packed up to move it into the storage unit.

March 13, 2021 03:39

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2 comments

Kayo Wanumu
16:18 Mar 23, 2021

Whoa, I love how you started off with the MC being obsessed with motherhood and children and gave her an actual backstory. If not for the prompt, I bet a tangent of her watching kids at the playground with parents would be a nice additive. But I'm kind of surprised that there wasn't more emotional internal dialogue on her relationship with Jerry.

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Sam Ackman
01:12 Mar 18, 2021

Hey! This is a great story. The plot was interesting and made you want to keep reading to see how it worked out. I love the hint at the twist ending! I feel like I wanted more time around how the main character was feeling to help it feel more real. Hope you keep writing :)

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