Another Day, Another Load

Submitted into Contest #31 in response to: Write a short story about someone doing laundry.... view prompt

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Baby shower over, the hard work began. Washing the itty-bitty socks and soft neutral coloured crib sheet I could barely reach the machine, my belly protruding like I was having twins. I wasn’t, doctors assured me, just bearing a healthy and weighty child. How does one prepare for that?

 

At 24 years of age, having my first child was daunting enough. To then be told at 7 months in my child was a large one (naturally so, shouldn’t have been a surprise) was a bit much. Typically a positive thinker I was terrified and trying not to show it.

 

I paused to admire each piece of clothing and bedding before putting each in. Then took a moment to admire the soft scent of baby detergent, Jack and I determined to do everything right. The crib was already in place, the dresser and change table secured. Now I just had to fill them, prepare them as I tried to mentally prepare myself for the “she could come at any time and be fine” stage.

 

Everyone had a story. Their own arduous l labour, what they craved and what I should be doing with my day. People frowned at me when I walked, rather hobbled, my usual one kilometer every morning before work. So many passerbys who were encouraging in the first trimester now telling me I should be keeping my feet up, not to push it, to ask for help. I didn’t need help, hated their advice and walked.

 

When the first load ran I decided I deserved a rest. Grabbing a book off the shelf I was determined not to sleep but to enjoy a mushy book to get my mind off of things. It was my day off, Jack was at work and I had an hour to wait before I could switch the load and run another. I earned it.

 

Just I settled into a comfortable position into bed, which takes a while, the phone rings. It was Jack. I awkwardly struggled to get the phone and swore, once again, that I’d always have it within easy reach.

 

“Hi hun, how are you?”

 

“Feeling ok. Just got the first load of baby shower clothes in the laundry and was laying down to read a book.”

 

“Sounds good. Did you want me to bring home supper? What do you feel like?”

 

Supper was always a point of contention between us. Though we loved to cook and bake, time and creativity was rarely on our side and we were so tired of the usual go-to meals. Our specialities were no longer special.

 

“Maybe Subway? Just a six inch. Surprise me with the kind, you know what I like.” What I really wanted was a lot of the foods I wasn’t allowed to have. I loved being pregnant for the most part, doing my best to follow all of the rules including refraining from blueberry tea and caffeine, it all could make me so cranky.

 

“Sounds good to me. I might even have a coupon for them. I might be a bit later tonight but will be home as soon as I can. Enjoy your book.”

 

He was so much sweeter now, with his first child on the way. I just hoped it would continue for many years to come. I hung up the phone, put it in arms reach, grabbed my book and opened to the first page. The blasted phone rang again.

 

“Forget something?” Assuming it was Jack was a silly thing to do.

 

“Lacy?”

 

“Mom?!” She never called during the day. It seemed she would rather talk to Jack or our voicemail then to me. I preferred that, too.

 

“Why aren’t you at work? I expected to get your voicemail.

 

“I have today off. And you?”

 

“I’m just on break and thought I’d ask if there was anything you still needed. I didn’t notice a lot of mittens and hats given at the shower.”

 

“It’s June, Mom. I don’t think she needs winter stuff quite yet.”

 

“I’ll get some. Just to be sure. Winter might come early.”

 

There was no sense in arguing. I learned that at a very early age. Cringing at the thought of trying to store more than necessary, far earlier then feasible, in our small two bedroom apartment I tried to plan ahead for storage. She caught me up on my father, how he went golfing with his buddies and was finally under par, and then talked about baking muffins. She went on to tell me about Trevor, my brother, who was away for work as the successful child, it didn’t matter that his wife was at my shower just two days before.

 

It didn’t matter that I was successful in my own right – making a living copy writing for companies all around the world. If I wasn’t at work every day or travelling the globe it wasn’t impressive enough for her. Not until I announced having her first grandchild did she say she was proud of me.

 

Hearing the washer signal its cycle I had legitimate reason to get her off the phone. Putting the phone back, again within easy reach, I stood up and felt a cramp. Chalking it up to Braxton Hicks contractions, early as it seemed, I reached back for the phone just in case.

 

Walking to the laundry room the pain came back, much more painful and longer this time. I had to sit down and abandon the idea of a relaxing day. I pressed redial, assuming it would be Jack. Unfortunately it was my mother and while I tried to pretend everything was fine another stabbing pain came on and I groaned. “I’m sure it’s nothing, Mom” I said when it subsided but the tears falling down my cheeks said otherwise. “I’ll call Jack and have him take me to the doctor just to be sure.”

 

It took him 15 minutes to come home and another 10 to get me into the car. The pain was constant by then and I knew. He took me straight to the hospital calling Dr Dorian, my OBGYN, on the way and she promised to meet us. She was at the entrance with a wheelchair and I was helped in it, no longer caring about how I looked.

 

Jack remained calm, always my rock and I didn’t remember much after being laid down and covered up. I must have passed out and when I came to Jack was sitting beside me, stroking my arm and crying.

 

The load of laundry at home wasn’t as heavy as the load we would now forever carry together.

February 28, 2020 17:47

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