As the melting sun beat down on them, a bead of sweat began to form on his forehead. Those chairs sure were uncomfortable; the grey tweed cushions only supported by four uneven wooden legs. He worked hard on those chairs, spending hours in the sawdust-filled basement.
“It was a false positive,” she confessed, scratching behind her ear. Her eye contact drifted and she could feel her nervous leg syndrome kicking in, once again.
“What the heck is that supposed to mean?”
“I guess the test was wrong.”
“Well obviously, Anna,” he retorted. She felt every consonant shoot out of his lips like bullets, piercing her with just the slightest bit of saliva.
The house felt even emptier than before. As he sauntered towards the nursery, Anna followed, tracing each of his footsteps. His long and lanky torso cast a shadow upon her, slightly fading as the sun and moon began to trade places in the sky.
“Paul, that doesn’t mean we can’t try again.” Anna’s hand slowly lifted off of her knee, but was frozen by his intense gaze. They had been trying for two years now. Your eggs aren’t forever, her mother would warn each Thanksgiving.
Since college, Anna knew that Paul was the one. He was a white-collar guy, born and raised in Boston; she was sure her parents would approve. He was the epitome of class; he was an older man, graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown University. He already had a job lined up in D.C., working on the hill. She was immediately and irrevocably enamored.
How could a girl like me have gotten so lucky? she asked herself daily. Slowly, she let out a sigh, finally grabbing on to Paul’s hand. His wedding band was ice cold, shining under the light of the ceiling fan.
“So what are you going to tell your parents?” he breathed. It had been a long journey. He constantly questioned if there was something wrong with him. But there was never something with him. Even through his tearful eyes, there was an air of confidence that oozed inside of each droplet of salty water.
She had no idea. She never seemed to have an idea. Ever since Paul came around, that is.
Anna pushed her bangs to the side, keeping her eyes locked on the mobile hanging from ceiling in the corner of the room. She remembered walking through Pottery Barn Kids, searching for the perfect duvet cover to go with the milky white rocking chair her father painted for her. The shoddy flowers swirled and curved around the arms and back, as if they were giving the rocker a warm embrace. Everyday as she walked by that rocking chair, she could smell the creamy smooth skin of the “little bean” that was supposed to be growing inside of her.
She let go of Paul’s hand, his fingers drifting up her arm and onto the nape of her neck, rubbing repeatedly until she felt numb.
As she wiped her hands, clammy like the salty ocean breeze, on her jeans, Anna dragged herself over to the rocking chair. Almost instantaneously she felt herself sink into the cushion, promising herself she would never leave that spot.
Tomorrow was Sunday. Of course, all that praying was for naught.
“Maybe we’ll skip church tomorrow,” Paul said, his tone hushed. He got up, walked towards the bedroom, got undressed and slid under the 500 thread count sheets. As he listened silently for a sign of Anna coming to crawl in next to him, all that fell was the deep inhalations of their lost future.
by Jenna Karic