When she had first learned the news, she couldn’t wait for Jerry to return from his business trip. She saved the stick and kept it on the counter. Every-once-in-a-while, she rushed into the bathroom to glance at the plus sign, making certain it was still there. When he arrived, they celebrated at their favorite French restaurant. The next day, she called her mom and dad. She changed her diet, came home earlier from work and made sure she got plenty of sleep. She was in total bliss.
Then, there had been the spotting. 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 and patted her shoulder.
Flustered, she forgot to ask the important questions, forgot what she’d read in the pregnancy books. When Jerry returned her phone call from Vegas, she reassured him. Told him everything would be alright, even though she, herself, wasn’t sure.
Lauren’s gaze roamed to the wide, rectangular window, still festooned with sheer, white curtains, scattered with orange moons and red stars.
An urge had come to her late at night, and she tossed aside the covers to go to the bathroom. In the dark, when she pushed herself upright, her hands touched something wet. She turned on the light and screamed. Her favorite pale, green, sheets were bright red, soaked with blood that seeped out of her. At the hospital on the birthing table, she flexed every muscle in her body and pushed. She pushed for sixteen hours with Jerry by her side, her hands in his. The baby finally arrived and not a sound was uttered, except for the wail that came out of her, from deep inside, from a place she didn’t know existed. Then, everything went dark.
Lauren’s eyes scanned the now custard-yellow walls.
She had changed the color, when she couldn’t take it any longer. When the pink lost its original meaning and turned black. Each stroke expended her anger, each roll depleted 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 landed on the tray in the middle of the room, filled to the rim with blue paint. She soaked the roller, until it was heavy with color and spread it on the wall. Bright streaks appeared, like petals of a blue cornflower against a background of yellow daisies on a beautiful, sunny day.
She stopped a moment and rubbed her belly, round and taut, thankful for a second chance.