Jack wakes up with the feeling today is a day he should be waiting for something, but he can’t remember what. As he gets ready for the day he continues thinking about what he might be forgetting, but quickly decides if it was important enough he would remember. As he looks at his reflection in the small bathroom mirror he notices a small gash on his chin. He doesn't know how it got there, but it looks bad. It looks as if glass cut his chin. He makes the choice to ignore it and leave the bathroom while grabbing his ring. He slips it onto his finger and looks at it. Jack smiles and feels happy with his marriage in the moment. Suddenly, he realizes his wife isn’t in the bedroom and urgently goes downstairs. He watches their pictures fly past him in a blur. 

“Honey?” Jack calls into the large, empty house. 

There’s no response and that’s when Jack remembers that his wife, Laura, had an appointment. Though he remembers that he can’t recall what the appointment was for. 

“Oh, well. I will find out soon enough,” Jack thinks to himself. 

Jack hears their dog whining in the living room. He walks past the kitchen and dining room to their GoldenDoodle in the kennel. It was time for her to go outside. When Jack opens the door to let her out he sees the porch is wet and their furniture is knocked down. As he  walks over to pick it up the cold breeze nipped at his bare arms. Then, he notices the neighbor watching him. 

“Good morning,” Jack says. 

“Good morning,” the young girl replies while blushing. 

Jack laughs to himself as he remembers when he was younger. Laura had blushed the entire time he first talked to her. 

She is so cute, and she’s mine. My high school sweetheart.

Jack begins to fall in love with Laura all over again when he remembers why he fell in love in the first place. Before he could think more about Laura the doorbell rang. 

I wonder who that could possibly be. 

Jack walks back through the living room and past the kitchen to get to the door. He peeks through the hole to see a young boy. Confused, Jack opens the door. 

“Can I help you?” Jack asks the boy. 

The boy’s face is pinched, expressing nervousness. His brown hair looks wet, probably from the rain. He is small and shaking. 

“Yes. I don’t know where my mom is.”

Why would she leave you?

“Do you live around here?”

“Yes,” the boy answers. 

Jack notices the boy seems more comfortable now. 

“Alright, come in. I’ll help you find your mom after you get warmed up.”

The boy walks in and immediately is marveled by the house. He looks interested in the antiques set around the house. 

“Are you hungry? Would you like some eggs?” Jack asks kindly. 

The boy’s eyes lit up and his smile stretched from ear to ear. Jack felt a warm feeling when he say this. 

“Yes, please.” 

As Jack scrambles eggs he notices the boy staring. His eyes watched the eggs in the pan. It made Jack wonder how hungry the boy really was. 

“Here you go,” Jack hands the boy a plate of eggs. 

The boy greedily takes hold of the plate. His eyes happy and mouth hungry. He uses his hands to scarf the eggs. Eggs fall onto the table and are all over the boy’s face. He finished them in under five minutes. Jack doesn’t understand why the boy ate so quickly. 

“I’m sorry. My mom can’t afford enough food for all of us. She’s pregnant and so I give her everything I can,” the boy says. 

It seems he read my face expression. 

“You don’t have to apologize. You can find food here whenever you need.”

The boy only nods and stares into the distance. Jack can’t help but feel sorry for the boy and his mother. 

“Would you like to take some fruit home for your mother?”

The boy quickly nods, so Jack gets up to receive the fruit from the counter. He puts it into a bag and hands it to the boy. Once again, a smile stretches ear to ear on the boy’s face filling Jack with joy. It warmed his heart to see the child so happy. 

“Well, I better get going,” the boy says. 

“Yeah. Okay.”

As Jack watches the boy walk to the door with his hands full he remembers something. 

I don’t know his name. 

“Wait,” Jack calls after the boy. “What’s your name?”

“Thomas. Bye!” the boy exclaims as he runs out the door. 

Jack stands in the hall for a minute before deciding what to do next. He couldn’t help but wonder why Thomas has come to his house. 

Of all the houses, he came to mine. 

Jack turned and once again passed the small kitchen. This time he noticed the calendar on the wall. He forgot Laura had hung it up for reminders. He decided to check what was planned for today. 

“Appointment,” Jack read quietly to himself. 

Hmm, doesn’t say what the appointment is for. Interesting. 

Jack shrugged it off as unimportant and went into the living room which was across from the dining room. He looked out the window to see his dog playing with a chew toy. It made Jack happy he didn’t waste money. Jack say down in the reclining chair after grabbing the remote. He sighed a long sigh before turning on the television. He switched the channel to sports. The Green Bay Packers we’re playing the Denver Broncos. The Broncos were up twenty-three to a mere seven. It was only second quarter and the Green Bay Packers could easily snag the game. That’s when Jack hears the door open and sobs. Quickly, Jack is on his feet and turns off the television. 

“Honey? Is that you?” 

In between sobs Jack barely hears, “Yes.”

Jack is beside his wife in seconds. He looks into her eyes and sees pure sadness. It looked as if she had been crying for a while. Jack hugs Laura and feels there is bad news coming. He grabs her chin and looks into her eyes, searching. He didn’t know what for. 

“What’s wrong?” He whispers. 

Laura inhales and exhales a few times. 

“I can’t get pregnant.”

The news hits Jack like an anchor. The walls close in on him as he registers the news. Shock washes over him like a wave. He collects his thoughts and calms down. He feels the need to be strong for Laura. 

“It’s okay. There’s always adoption.”

Laura’s face scrunches up,”It’s not the same.”

The doorbell rings and Jack looks at Laura. They walk to the door together to see who it is. Jack let’s them in as soon as he knows the answer. Thomas from before walks in with a pregnant woman, who Jack assumes is his mom. She is young, most likely mid-twenties. Her eyes carried a tiredness Jack didn’t understand. Her clothes were worn and her shoes were barely staying together. 

“Come in,” Jack said. 

“Thank you.”

The two guests took a seat on the love seat and Jack sat in his brown recliner. Laura went to the kitchen and came back with two water. 

“Laura, this is Thomas and his mom. Thomas came over earlier for breakfast.”

Thomas was cuddled close to his mom on the couch and watched Jack. Laura was standing patiently by living room.  

“I’m so sorry to intrude,” Thomas’s mom stsarted. 

“No worries. You’re welcome here anytime,” Jack smiled politely. 

Jack received a half smile from the mother. 

“I heard what you did for Thomas and I appreciate that. I am unable to care for the both of us, and I have a baby on the way.”

“Yes, congratulations,” Laura said spitefully. 

Jack noticed Thomas’s mother shift in her seat with a look of discomfort. Jack was sure it was because of Laura, not the seat. 

“Im barely able to afford two of us, and I won’t be able to care for a baby at all. I was hoping you could help me.”

Jack’s interest peaked and Laura stepped closer into the room. He could see his wife was now ready to hear what she had to say. 

Thomas’s mom looked back and forth between Jack and Laura before continuing. 

“I would like you two to take care of the baby on the way. I know how you were with Jack and how you might handle a baby. I honestly can’t take care of her along with us two,” she said with a sigh. 

Jack saw the look of defeat on her face, but could also sense the hope in her tone. He looked at Laura whose eyes were bugging out of her head from excitement. Jack knew his wife would love to take the baby. 

“Give us a minute to discuss this, please,” Jack says, trying to contain his tone. 

He takes Laura into the kitchen slowly. He was trying to hide how they truly felt. 

“So? What do you say?” Laura whisper-shouts.  

“I’m down if you’re down. I mean, we can’t have kids, and we both want one.”

Laura drags Jack down the hall, barely letting him finish his sentence. 

“We would love to take her after she is born. I am surprised you even asked,” Laura says barely breathing in between words. 

2 months later (after baby’s birth):

“Coochie coochie coo,” Jack baby-talks. 

“Honey, Serena doesn’t find your baby-talking funny. She likes peek-a-boo, though,” Laura states matter-of-factly from the kitchen.

Laughter escaped Sally’s mouth while Thomas was smiling his ear to ear smile. Laura was back in the kitchen finishing dinner. Jack was still holding Serena in his hands trying to make her smile. 

“She’s only one month old and she’s already making demand,” Jack jokes. 

That time everyone laughs together. They were enjoying the time together. They were happy it worked out for both families. 

July 07, 2020 00:26

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.