I couldn't figure out why I was lying on something hard, at first. My bed was soft, the sofa was soft. Come to think of it, I didn't remember being on either. I remembered being in my armchair with the footstool. Also, I felt sore.
Groaning, I opened my eyes, still feeling a little confused. The vantage point made it clear I was on the floor. That, and a woman was kneeling over me. I looked at her, puzzling over what I saw, and groaned again. Everything clicked into place and I really wished it hadn't.
"Oh, no, oh no. It's really happening. Oh, no..." I felt like I was whining, but couldn't it have just been a nightmare? I could have dealt with a nightmare. This, though...
Vicki, she had said her name was, started talking to me, asking me questions. Rather nice questions, all things considered. I made the effort and opened my eyes again, pushing up on my elbows as I looked at her. Letting out a soft sigh I replied that no, I wasn't dizzy. It was true; other than having the feeling I was going to be bruised I felt ok. Physically speaking, that was.
Then my baby gave me a good kick. I let out a surprised "oh" and put a hand to my belly. Sure, it was not exactly new that the baby was kicking, but it still amazed me each and every time. It also was a little uncomfortable, but I didn't mind. It was an astounding reminder that a life was inside me. Not just any life, the life that Jamie and I had made. Our baby!
In my excitement I grabbed Vicki's hand, tugging it forward and placing it on my belly. I knew a proud smile curved my lips. It was, after all, rather amazing. Life! I was going to be a mother and my body protected this baby that was not yet ready to venture into the world. I wanted to share it.
I had noticed, those few times I actually ventured out, that there was something about being pregnant or having children that drew women together. Complete strangers had come up to me, asking to touch my stomach, chattering away about their own experiences or commenting about where I carried my baby, how glowing I looked, or where I was gaining my weight. I guess in the moment I had forgotten that Vicki wasn't just another pregnant woman.
Under her hand I felt the baby stir more and I beamed up at her. It was a miracle, and there was something about sharing it that just made it more wonderful. I waited for her smile, for her to say something.
Her response brought reality back to me, or at least brought the rest of reality back. I had forgotten, in that moment, that we shared more than pregnancy. As her hand dropped and the smile died on her lips, the smile slowly slipped away from my lips.
Right. We weren't going to bond over the new lives growing inside us for a very good reason: It appeared possible that the same man had put it there in both of us.
I licked my lips and looked away awkwardly. I felt rather like a beached whale lying there on the floor and, unfortunately, I was starting to wonder how I was going to get up by myself. It was always uncomfortable, worse to think of this woman seeing me so ungainly. I would have preferred to meet her any other way.
Still, it felt unreal. Would someone jump out and tell me it was untrue? Tell me this was all a very cruel joke? Looking over at Vicki I knew she wasn't the type.
She was strong. The fact that she'd looked after me, despite how she must feel about me, told me she was going to be a wonderful mother. Significantly older than me, I couldn't help but compare us. I felt young, almost childish when set against her. She had come to me, not ranting and raving, but polite. Centered.
I wanted to see her as bitter, jaded, think that she was old. I knew better. She seemed, well, rather nice. I would rather dislike her, but I had this awful feeling that if we had met some other way I might actually get along with her.
"I... need to get up. This isn't very comfortable. But thank you. For not just leaving me here." My voice sounded lost, even to me.
I needed Jamie. I didn't think I could do this myself.