My husband slid onto the bed, tucking his knees into the nooks of mine. Draping his arm over my waist, he pulled me closer into enveloping warmth.
“We will find her.” He whispered. “Keep believing that, okay? She needs us to keep that hope.”
“I know. I just…I can’t…” I answered, sobbing quietly, burying my face into the smell of the soft patterned quilt. With each choked breath, I would drink in the scent of her; vanilla, citrus and a hint of raspberry. It was the very essence of Mandy, so warm and sweet. I couldn’t control the wave, it was carrying me to a place where my soul was about to turn inside out. I could feel Joe begin to cry, no longer able to keep his emotions intact. I knew he was doing his best to stay strong for me and Katie, but this moment was just too much for both of us.
Nineteen years ago, Joe and I were in this very same position breathing, counting and crying. Joe was gently caressing my swollen belly, comforting me through contractions. The room was bright with morning sun filtering in through the semi-closed blinds. The yellow glow gave warmth to the stark white walls and linens surrounding us.
“Joe, I think it’s time to move off the bed and help me deliver your baby girl!” Dr. Travis said through the hospital mask, eyeing the machine monitoring my contractions. “I think that last one was the deal breaker! Whadda ya say there Charlotte, ready to push?”
‘Oh, I’m ready all right! She has kicked me for the last time! My ribs cannot take it!” I joked as I tried to breathe through the pain that was beginning to tear through my abdomen.
I could see his eyes, framed between the top fold of the blue mask and his tie-dyed surgeon cap. They were pools of blue, twinkling and set deep into years of smile creases. “Ok. Here we go…and one…two…three…push!” Being the second baby he helped us to deliver, doc knew that this child would waste no time greeting this world. She wanted out just as much as mom wanted her out.
“Hon! I see her head! I see her head! Great job Char, come on….one more push!” Joe’s excited voice no match for his glistening eyes. With the next contraction and push I felt instant relief from the pressure as our daughter came into our world.
She was whisked across the room and placed on a blanket under an orange glowing light. Joe was right there, beaming. “All ten toes and all ten fingers!” He reported through the healthy cries. With the softest voice, I heard him whisper to our little girl “Hello sweetheart! It’s Daddy. I’m so happy you are finally here. Mommy and Daddy and big sister Katie have been waiting and waiting…” he trailed off to kiss her tiny fingers that grasped his. “We have a little monkey, yes we do.” He cooed. She stopped crying to listen to the familiar voice.
“Aww, look at that! She’s listening to you!” the nurse smiled. Joe met her gaze and returned the smile. Then he turned to me, face beaming, as only a proud daddy could and gave me thumbs up with one eyebrow raised. I loved that about him. It made me giggle each and every time. I returned the gesture and gave a happy sigh as the nurse placed our new bundle of joy into my arms. “Well, hello there pumpkin! So happy you could join us!” I said softly as I nuzzled her soft baby skin.
Joe kissed my forehead, then cupped my chin with his hand and lifted my lips to meet his. “You are awesome. She is beautiful!” We began to cry tears of pure joy.
I could feel him squeeze me tighter, hot breath on my neck. I wrapped my arms over his and squeezed back. Our grip could not be tight enough.
“She is still with us. I know it. I can feel it.” Joe assured me.
“I know. I can feel it too. It’s just so…” I replied.
“Happy Birthday, Mandy Monkey. We love you.” We both whispered into the darkness.
The tears returned, flowing one uncontrollable wave after another.
This is the second installment of Day Tripper, my first piece of fiction writing started with the Red Writing Hood. This week’s prompt was to write about a treasure that was stolen from you or your character, and what you did about it.
Concrit is always welcome! Thanks!