Guinea Pigs

    Ted folded up the newspaper and shoved it behind him onto the backseat. He drummed the steering wheel and glanced again toward the building. He wished now he'd decided to wait inside instead of in the car but he didn't like hospitals, they made him feel uncomfortable and obscurely guilty for being healthy. Although Esther said it was a research place, it still looked enough like a hospital that he didn't want to go in.

    He checked his watch again. Almost an hour he'd been waiting. Come on Esther, what's keeping you?

    "Just a check-up," she'd said. "It's this thing I did, when we were first going out. I don't know if I told you. They just call us back every so often. It's nothing."

    "Can't you duck out of it?"

    "I signed a contract Ted, I agreed to it. And it's only this one last time."

    "Yes, but what is it?"

    "I don't know," she'd been vague. "They're checking a new medication I think. I go in, say everything's fine, and that's it."

    He looked at the building again and this time there she was. He forgot his irritation at once, couldn't help smiling. The sun caught her dark hair, made it glow with tints of red, and he loved the way her body moved, the light spring dress clinging to her curves. His smile faded as she approached and he saw her expression. She got in and smiled at him, but there was tightness of strain around her eyes.

    "What's wrong?" he asked.


    "Es! Tell me. You look upset. What did they say?"

    "It's nothing. It all went fine. Can't we just go?" She wasn't looking at him. She fumbled with her seatbelt and straightened her skirt.

    "No, Es. You have to tell me. Bloody doctors, what did they do?"

    "I told you; nothing. Ted, just leave it ok? It was just really dull that's all..." her voice broke as she said this and her mouth pulled out of shape.

    "Es!" Ted said, scared. He leaned over and drew her close to him. "Oh Es sweetie, what's wrong?" she cried against his chest for a minute and then pushed away from him, drying her eyes with shaking hands. She didn't like to cry, even though he could have held her forever. He felt a cold ache inside.

    "They just said some of the women in the test have had trouble...trouble... Oh, Ted! They've had trouble having children. Sustaining pregnancies they said. Miscarriages." She looked at him, her eyes still full of tears. "Teddy, I'm pregnant."

    "Pregnant," Ted echoed. He was stunned. But her mouth pulled down again in misery and he knew that this was the wrong reaction. It's all wrong. All wrong.

    "Two months. I didn't...I didn't tell them."

    "It'll be ok," he said. He reached out to hug her again and this time she rested against him and didn't pull back. He felt her relax a little, give a sigh and lean into him, holding him too. "It'll be ok. It will, I know it."

    "Will it?"

    "Of course," he said. But he was afraid, and so was she.











The End

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