Theme: fictionalize your first encounter with another GMGM author.
by Laura Gene
We met at the Red Canna Family Planning and Women’s Clinic, a somewhat questionable Freudian homage to Georgia O’Keefe. Jessica sat along the wall conveniently situated next to the magazine rack stuffed with every conceivable issue of Parents, Parenting and Travel & Leisure — a reminder of what I’ll soon be giving up… or simply mindless reading material for those ladies biding their time in the OB/GYN’s office waiting for their routine cervix swabbing. Of course, nothing says leisure quite like propping your feet up in a pair of stir-ups, opening your legs spread eagle and having your most vulnerable body part illuminated by spotlight for all to see and judge. Or in the case of a porn star, just another day at the office.
I plopped down on her right, one seat over as defined by the unspoken seating etiquette by which all well-adjusted individuals abide. It’s a social contract we all signed when we graduated primary school. Look it up.
There we were, strangers soon to overcome that chair’s width threshold to become forever friends. Jessica was undeniably adorable with her baby bump nesting softly on her jeaned thighs. She wore a casual knit sweater with large navy and gray stripes to oblige her expanding waistline. She couldn’t help but glow with a giddy contentment and soft airbrushed skin. I’ve only glowed like that after radiation treatment.
She told me it was her first pregnancy. She and her husband were over-the-moon, as one can imagine for a couple whose dream of healthy progeny is soon to come true. In her last visit, she learned her first born would actually be her first and second born. But I suppose biology was playing nice this time around, trying to make up for its earlier shortcomings.
I was jealous, just beginning my journey of heartache, trials and almost tribulations. Every month would bring another disappointment of my womanhood. Not being pregnant was the only thing my Capricorn brain could think about. I was losing patience that it would ever happen for me — the stretch marks, morning sickness, sleepless nights and un-lose-able baby weight. I would suffer all of those in ten-fold for that baby bump.
I was truly happy for her. Her words of encouragement — not to lose the waning hope; that she knew what it was like to fail and get your hopes up only to do it all over, time and again, in vain; that she knew how dark those dark days could be — soothing words from the mother-to-be.
“Mrs. Sheehan,” the ponytailed RN called her name.
“If you want, I can give you my number if you ever want to get together, or maybe talk or something,” she said as I dug out my mobile from the black hole of my purse. I texted her and we made our 21st century number exchange.
“Take care,” she quietly grinned as she managed a quick tricep workout to lift herself off the chair.
“You too. Good luck.”
Surrounded by now empty seats, I crossed my legs, cozied up with a Travel & Leisure and flipped through the pages detailing the “Top 10 Beach Resorts Around the World.” It got me thinking about the not-too-distant past; our holidays spent in Phuket and Bali among other envious, exotic locales. This life—the kind of life I have chosen ‘til now — has been amazing, treated me so well…
“Ms. Bussinger?” the blue-scrubbed nurse queried the waiting room, interrupting my reminiscing and second-guessing. “Ms. Bussinger?”
“Oh!” I waved my hand, grabbing my things and tossing the magazine to the adjacent chair, “that’s me, that’s me.”
“How are you doing today, Ms. Bussinger?”
“Oh, well, we’ll see here in a bit. Fingers crossed.”
“Hellooo! Laura Geeene? Ms. Bussinger?! Anyone home?” she pleaded.
“Oh, whoops, sorry. Totally zoned out. What do you need help with? Did you finish wrapping everything, or need me to blow up balloons or something? Just tell me what to do, woman,” I lovingly demanded.
I should have known better than to ask. Supermom didn’t need help, just a little emotional support. Jessica was busying herself with cakes to celebrate Kate and Kennan’s 1st birthdays, supplying them with ample whipped sugar and food dye to smear across their pinch-able rosy cheeks. Amazingly, amid the chaos, Jessica was still glowing. Giggling to myself watching her flutter about in the kitchen, I realized I was finally glowing too… in a pair of chest-high spandex jeans and skintight oversized sweater.