Is it not unfair in a way or more of a fitting consequence that time did its part on me, losing my hair, creaking by bones. Far faster than I imagined it would take, a will of the universe to age me like the rocky shores I spent afternoons with her. Gashes or crevasse along the fleeting remains of my image. But time did not place the same blame onto her as every day went by. My breath is halved then taken from me as I peeled back my crusty eyelids to gaze upon her. And now with her belly swollen and growing, a life inside I see happiness lay shading to come into this world. The universe works in varied ways.
The summer was hot and humid, the late spring rains made up for the loss from the long winter. With Jasper bedridden from a spill he took I had twice the work to do. Though with the yields as high as they were it was hard to sell at a reasonable price, we were forced to either dump stock or drive twice as far to make a profit. Exhausted I get German to cover some loads for me so I could run home and go shopping with Cynthia. I slowly get out of the truck and drag my feeble body inside. I barely get seated on the couch when Cynthia comes hobbling down the stairs. “You ready?” She asks nearly out of breath. I sit up and slowly walk with her outside. Her belly only inches from the steering wheel, I decide I would feel better if I drove.
Not sure on how we got there, as I have no memory of the drive. I get out and walk around the car. I take Cynthia’s hand and help her out of the seat. We walk into Sears and we first head to the bathrooms. I take the opportunity to splash water on my face. We buy some needed clothes, we stay neutral in the color spectrum as we still didn’t know the gender of the thing growing inside of her. We pass by the small section for exercise equipment. We get an exercise bike that I’m pretty sure I owned before, but that time it was only three dollars, not forty. I load it in the basket. We pay, and by that I mean Cynthia does, as she’s showed herself to be way better at handling money than I. About to leave and we hit the bathroom one more time. We load the car, I go for the driver door but Cynthia is already sitting there, she points to the passenger side with her head. I walk around and get in, I fell asleep before we left the parking lot.
I wake up halfway through the drive, surprisingly rested. I wipe my drool away and sit up straight. “You hungry?” Cynthia asks even though she was already pulling into the diner. We get a booth. Rose was out sick today, which usually meant she spent a long night drinking. Cynthia gets her juice and I get coffee. “So have you thought of any names?” She asks. I stir my coffee trying to force the name from my tongue. “No, not yet.” I say instead. “Well give it some thought, Dr. Flynn said it going to happen any day now.” I drink my coffee without saying anything. “Well I’m famished, let’s get something to eat.” Cynthia waves over the waitress that I couldn’t remember the name of. She orders for the both of us, which makes the whole process a lot faster. The young woman as if oblivious to the giant belly before discovers Cynthia’s pregnant stomach “Oh my, can I feel it?” The young woman ask. Cynthia obliges, though I knew deep down she wanted to tell her no. The young lady slides her hand over the bulging belly then stops. With a bright face and eyes, she shout-whispers. “I felt a kick!” She soon removes her hand noticing the situation was tipping to the awkward. “I bet it’s going to be a boy, boys always kick like that.” She says. Cynthia and I don’t say anything and she walks off to place our order. “I don’t know how I should feel seeing my wife getting fondled by another woman.” I say cracking a smile. “Oh, we’ll see how you like being touched by strangers.” She says in a huff. I choke on my coffee as I laugh. “I think I’ll feel pretty good.” I say with a moment’s pause. I get a kick to the shin that I had coming.
I come home and the parts for the exercise bike are laid out over the floor as Cynthia assembles it to the soft glow of the TV. “Feel any contractions?” I ask as I remove my shirt and sit on the floor next to her. “They’re a little spread apart, I called Dr. Flynn, she said not to worry unless they get closer together.” She said. I knew this much from the books we read, but somehow hearing her say that puts me at ease. I kiss her head then go make dinner. “I thought of a name today while talking to German.” I say while dicing the onions for the chicken. “He was saying how names are a way to link your past with your present.” I dump the onions into the pan and walk into the living room. “Which got me really thinking on a name.” She turns around with a screwdriver in her mouth, she says something but I couldn’t make it out so she spits the tool onto the floor. “We’re not naming her Yumi if it’s a girl.” I feel awful as that didn’t even cross my mind. “No, I wasn’t thinking that. How about Noah? I think it will work either way.” She nods her head a little then goes back to the bike. “I like it, but I’ll have to think on it. Can you hold this for me?” I help her with the bike until I smell the chicken burning. I cook some pasta instead.
She wakes me with a frighten smack to the head. “Oh, god, fuck! Wake the fuck up!” She yells to me. Then I feel a moisture on my leg, my first sleepy thought is she or I wet the bed. It has happened before. I click on the lamp and a pink stain flows from her crotch. “Call Elizabeth!” Cynthia yells. I jump out of bed and barrel down the stairs. I trip over the parts for the bike and pull a house plant with me, I crawl the rest of the way to the phone. I spin to zero and one of Cynthia coworkers answers. “Hello, how can…” I cut her off. “It’s happening, get Doc on the line!” I shout into the receiver, I hear a slight gasp, a couple clicks, then the ringing.” Dr. Flynn answers the phone sheepishly. “Hell-o…” I take a deep breath then try to force all the words at once. “ItshappeningIdon’tknowwhattodothingsarepink!!” Her voice turns stern and calms me. “I need you to speak clearly to me dear.” She says. I take another breath and try to go slower. “Cynthia, she’s in labor, her water broke but it’s, it’s pink and smells like piss, I don’t know what to do.” In a calm and constant tone she gives me instructions, “Hang-up the phone and go get her a glass of water, I’ll be over in a minute.” She says. I hang-up the receiver and jump over the parts I tripped over. Grab a glass, fill it as quickly as I could and run upstairs. Cynthia sits somewhat against the headboard panting as she sweats from everywhere. She reaches for the water and I hand it to her. She drinks it, spilling some of it over herself. She squeezes my hand tightly turning the ends of my fingers purple. “She’s on her way don’t worry, she’s on her way, just breathe” She moves her feet about trying to remove the sheets. “Get the things off of me, god it’s hot, more water.” I move the sheets, open the window and hand her the glass of water all while she has my hand in a death grip. I hear Elizabeth’s car hauling ass down the drive. “I’ll be back the doc is here.” I slip my fingers from her and run back down the stairs. I burst through the door as Dr. Flynn is getting out of her car, she sees me and yells. “Don’t you think I know how to use a door boy, get back up there.” I felt foolish as she was probably ten years younger than me. I turn around and run back up the stairs towards Cynthia’s grunts.
Elizabeth takes to work right away. “Well, it’s happening.” She says. She rolls back Cynthia’s nighty, which oddly resemble the one the doc was wearing. A pajama delivery. I grimace a little as she takes a pair of scissors from her bag and cuts away Cynthia’s panties and drops them on the floor. “How is it?” I ask. She shines a light. “It’s happening.” she says again. I feel shaky, I try to keep my knees bent. “Alright dear, I’m going to need you to push, okay?” She says to Cynthia of course. She nods her head and begins pushing. Her teeth chatter and the crunch on my fingers get close to the breaking point. “Oh fucking god! Fuck!” Cynthia yells. She gives one last push and with that the color seems to leave her, flushed out. Her hand loosens its grip on mine. I feel faint. “Hey! Stay with me! We’re almost there!” Dr. Flynn yells. Cynthia digs her nails into my hand, breaking the skin. With one last push, the baby is free. With experience hands, Dr. Flynn cut the umbilical, clamps and turns the messy start of human upside down. There’s a gargle then a cry. Dr. Flynn gives me a look and I take the baby from her. “We’re not out of the woods yet.” She says. With a needle and suture, she goes back into Cynthia’s regions. I can’t say I know exactly what happened next, as I just stood there holding this new life in my hands. My daughter.
Dr. Flynn helped me change the sheets and clean Cynthia up as she fed our Daughter for the first time out of the womb. She packs up her bag and asks. “So do you have a name for her?” With drowsy eyes, Cynthia looks up to me then our baby girl. “Noah.” Cynthia says. “What a beautiful name.” Dr. Flynn says. She motions me to follow her outside. “I want you two to go to the hospital in the morning, there might be an infection they need to take a look at.” She hands me a card. “You did great, it gets easier after the first I hear.” She says about to walk back down the stairs. I take her and give her the biggest hug. “If you ever need anything just let me know, ok?” She pats me on the back and pushes away. I walk back into the room and lay down next to Cynthia and Noah.
The next day I drag the mattress outside and let it dry in the sun. We drive to the hospital and they give Cynthia a prescription of low lever penicillin. We head home and Olive and Jasper wait at our front door. I get Noah out of the complicated safety seat. I hand her to Cynthia, her smile is blooming as she walks to meet Olive and Jasper. Right away Jasper grasps my hand and shakes it. “Congratulations!” He shouts. Olive takes Noah from Cynthia, her eyes blossom with tears of joy. I get something caught in my throat because of her reaction. We walk inside, an interesting family of five.