by Paffi S. Flood
“I remember the pink walls,” Lauren says, her voice echoing in the empty room.
When she first learned the news, she couldn’t wait for Jerry to return from his business trip. She saved the stick and every once in a while rushed into the bathroom to glance at the plus sign and make certain it was still there. When he arrived, they celebrated at their favorite French restaurant, Le Rivage, and then, she called her mom and dad. From the next day on, she changed her diet, came home earlier from work and made sure to get plenty of sleep. She was in total bliss.
Lauren’s eyes travel to one corner of the room. The corner where a chair once stood, crammed with stuffed animals, mostly pink teddy bears, like a game booth at the yearly carnival.
Then, the spotting happened, and the trip to the emergency room. The nurse on duty looked at her with preponderance, as if she knew it all. “There, there,” the old woman said, patting her shoulder. She was flustered, so much so, she didn’t ask the important questions, forgetting what she’d read in the pregnancy books. When Jerry returned her call from Vegas, she reassured him, telling him everything would be alright, even though she, herself, couldn’t be sure.
Lauren’s gaze roams to the wide, rectangular window, still festooned with sheer, white curtains, scattered with orange moons and yellow stars.
One night, an urge had come to her, and she tossed aside her covers. In the dark, when she pushed herself upright to get out of bed, her hands felt something damp. She turned on the light and screamed. Her favorite sheets radiated bright red from blood that seeped out of her. At the hospital on the birthing table, she flexed every muscle in her body and pushed. She labored for sixteen hours with Jerry by her side, her hands in his. The baby finally arrived and not a sound was heard, except for the wail that emanated from the pit of her soul, a deep, deep place she didn’t realize existed. Then, everything went dark.
Lauren’s eyes scan the now yellow walls.
When pink lost its original meaning and turned black, she changed the color. Each stroke had expended her anger, each roll depleted her of her grief, and all that remained was love. Love for Mary. Love for the tiny bundle she carried down the aisle and placed in the small, wooden box. Love for her precious baby with closed eyes, visible for everyone to see.
Lauren’s gaze lands on the tray in the middle of the room, filled to the rim with blue paint. She soaks the roller until it’s heavy and spreads the color on the wall. Bright streaks appear, like petals of a cornflower against the background of a beautiful, sunny day.
She pauses a moment and rubs her belly, round and taut, thankful for a second chance.
Paffi S. Flood is the author of A Killing Strikes Home. You can also find her on twitter and facebook.