Well, I got too caught up with celebrating ‘Murica’s birthday yesterday to edit this flash fiction story. This prompt, once again, came from our friends at terribleminds.com :
When I clicked on random on the t.v. tropes site, I received this trope as my challenge:
My challenge–take the delivery stork trope and turn it on its head somehow. All [two] of my flash fiction stories have been pretty grim so far. I decided to challenge myself and see if I could make this one heart-warming. We all have to venture outside our comfort zones sometimes, I suppose. This story consists of two stories that are fragmented and weaved into one somehow. Perhaps the story only makes sense in my head–but oh well. What can you do?
Here you go, my friends. Enjoy.
Kristen barreled down highway 70 in her flat-black Chevy, in an attempt to outrun her painful and tortured past.
In the rear-view mirror, she saw failed tests, failed relationships, failed jobs, failed friendships and failed morals chasing after the car—all with vengeful, pissed off, faces.
What she also saw was the curse that perpetuated all of her recent failures. Its innocent eyes stared back at her through the rear-view mirror. Kristen sighed as her shoulders slumped in the driver’s seat. She adjusted the mirror in order to shift her gaze from her most recent failure. As innocent as it may be, it ruined her life—tearing up her last relationship. The love of her life walked away; showing his true colors.
But I can make it all right, she thought. I can make it mean something.
Kristen drove into the night running away from the past, in hopes of creating a brighter future.
Barry sat patiently in the cheap plastic chair, staring at his wife while she hyperventilated on the paper sheet covering the exam room table.
Time and time again, the two of them huddled on the table comforting each other while trying to get over their most recent failure.
This was the last time—the money finally dried up. The couple could only withstand so many eight thousand dollar fertility treatments before it became too much.
Dr. Roland pushed his bifocals higher up on his nose as he strode through the exam room door. “Tabitha, Barry—how’s your afternoon so far.”
“Good,” Tabitha replied in a shaky tone.
“We’re okay, Doc. Just a little nervous that’s all. There’s a lot riding on today for our family going forward,” Barry added with a panicked voice of his own.
“Did it take?” Tabitha demanded. “Am I going to have a child?”
As Tabitha spoke, she toyed around with the wedding ring Barry put on her finger eighteen years before. The couple decided ‘kids could wait’ when they first spoke their vows. They held the status quo for another eleven years after.
The previous seven years, however, infertility plagued Tabitha causing a strain on their relationship and forcing her to question herself as a woman. Seven long years of false pregnancies, miscarriages, and failed pregnancy tests led the couple to where they were then. Barry and Tabitha spent the last of their savings in one last attempt at artificial insemination.
Dr. Roland sighed at her question.
Tabitha’s eyes turned downcast towards her feet. She’d heard that answer before. Barry walked over and put a comforting arm over her shoulder.
“It didn’t take,” Roland finally said. The words came out in a whisper, but he got his point across just the same.
“Are you positive? Could it take more time?” Barry asked, still holding on to his last threads of hope.
“I’m sure. I’m sorry. If there’s anything I ca—”
Tabitha’s sobs cut him off mid sentence. It’s not that she cried louder than he could project his voice, rather it was his realization of the fact that no words could console the grieving, would be, mother.
Roland nodded at Barry, who gave the doctor a passing wave, then left the room so the couple could handle the news however they saw fit.
On the way home, Tabitha rode shotgun with her head pressed firmly on the cold passenger’s side window.
“Let’s go to Lowes,” she said.
“Lowes. We need to buy some paint. I can’t stand to look at the yellow walls of the guest room anymore.”
“But honey, we can still adop—”
“I said let’s go to Lowes.”
It was that moment Barry knew she had finally given up. His heart sank at the thought because he knew his chances were finished, as well. The couples only dream died in the car just like that. All of the church meetings where they prayed for a child; all of the adoption agencies queried; all of the fertility treatments—it all meant nothing.
Kristen cross-referenced the scribbled address to the painted numbers on the curb.
3550 Kendall Street, she confirmed in her head.
Kristen’s eyes met the rear view mirror once more. She came face to face with all of her demons once again. Her dad who abused her as a child stood to the left. Her boyfriend who talked her into an abortion at thirteen stood beside him. All the way on the right, stood her ex—the love of her life. The man glared at the contents of Kristen’s back seat.
Tears formed in Kristen’s eyes.
She punched the mirror, in hopes the past would fade with one simple hit.
Kristen stepped out of the driver’s side door and went into the back seat. With only the slightest moment of hesitation, she grabbed the bane of her existence and headed for the front door of 3550 Kendall Street.
When she reached the door, Kristen looked over her shoulder and confirmed that her past still followed close behind.
After one last hesitant motion, she rang the doorbell and ran back to her car.
At midnight, Tabitha laid in her would be child’s room next to the off-white paint she planned on covering her scarred psyche with. She cried throughout the day and found herself weeping once more next to the can of paint that all her instincts told her not to put to use.
The deafening sound of the Stewart’s doorbell reverberated through the house, knocking Tabitha out of her depression induced paralysis.
Tabitha heard tires screech as she and Barry raced each other to see who would answer it first.
Barry reached the door while Tabitha sat back a few steps wondering why someone was at her doorstep at midnight.
He looked through the peephole and saw nothing.
“Damn kids. Alwa—”
A baby’s cry interrupted his sentence.
Without thinking, Tabitha pushed through Barry to open the door.
The pink baby wrapped in blankets met the couple with a smile.