Hope and the jumping bean

I was inspired to try my hand at a bit of fiction by One Frazzled Mum’s writing in response to The Prompt linky on Mum turned Mom. This week’s prompt is hope. Please be gentle with me. I haven’t tried to write fiction since I was about 12. This is completely made up and not autobiographical or about any real person.

Hope stands at the window looking at the driving rain. She loves being indoors in her warm home while rain batters the window and the branches of trees bend in the wind. She cracks the window open and takes a breath of the air that smells of dry soil stirred by raindrops.

The rest of the house is silent and empty. She walks to the sofa and picks up her phone. No messages. No notifications. She opens up her Facebook app and starts scrolling.

All of the usual stuff is there. A friend from school who works as an estate agent has closed on another mansion. Political posts. Someone baked a cake. Someone else is on holiday. Several people have adorable children.

Hope checks her watch. Another ten minutes has passed. Some people think she’s old fashioned for wearing a watch. Most people just look at their phone. If she did that, she would have lost her phone a hundred times over. She checks the time a lot. She lives by the clock.

She hears the key rattle in the lock and feels that familiar little jump of happiness in her chest every time her other half comes home. It mixes in with all the nervous flip flops that were cavorting in her stomach and makes her feel sick again. As her partner, Peter, walks in the door, she rummages in her handbag for a piece of gum.

“Oh finally you’re back! We’re going to be late,” she says, anxious and distracted at the same time. She finds the pack of gum and pops a piece in her mouth.

“We’ve got plenty of time!” Peter says brightly. “Are you ready to go then?

Hope smacks her gum loudly and gives him a look. “What do you think?”  Then she stands up, grabs her coat and walks purposefully out the front door to get in the car. Peter follows.

The radio blares loudly when the car is first turned on. Hope loves listening to the radio on full blast. An Ed Sheeran song is playing. He’s one of her favourite artists, but not today. She quickly changes the channel, then pairs up her phone to the sound system so she can choose what music she wants to hear. Maybe a bit of Iron Maiden. Aggression and no fear.

Hope sits in the car with her hand on her stomach. She can’t feel anything really. Just like last time. She has felt just exactly the same as last time all the way through. A little bit sick. A little bit hungry. A little bit like her bra is becoming too small. Does this mean that it would happen again?

She had told her friends this time. She wasn’t waiting for this appointment. Last time it was harder to tell them when she was already grieving. When they couldn’t understand why she disappeared for a while. Why she was so sad – and is still so sad. Nothing is ever going to bring back what was lost, even if today brings good news.

Peter parks the car and they walk across the car park, through the sliding doors, up the two flights of stairs and down a long hallway. They enter a small waiting room and Hope walks up to the counter.

“I’ve got an appointment at 1:15,” she tells the receptionist.

The receptionist is distracted, doing twenty things at once. She asks, “Do you have your notes?” Hope hands them over. The receptionist takes them. “Take a seat,” she says.

Hope and Peter sit down on the hard plastic seats. There aren’t any magazines in the waiting room. Just various health-related leaflets. Hope ignores them and tries to check her phone, but she doesn’t have any signal. She grabs Peter’s hand and he squeezes hers in return. They wait in silence for what seems an eternity.

A woman calls Hope’s name. Her stomach jumps, flips and ties itself into a knot. Her eyes start to black out a little bit around the edges and she feels lightheaded. She has to take deep breaths to stop herself from total panic.

Hope and Peter follow the woman who called her name into a darkened room. “Right,” the woman says, “just lie down and lift up your top, and we’ll go ahead and take a look.” Mercifully, she doesn’t ask any other questions or say anything else.

“This might be a bit cold,” the sonographer says as she squirts gel on Hope’s stomach.

Hope holds her breath as the sonographer probes her stomach with the ultrasound wand. She pushes the wand into her stomach and Hope hears nothing. She moves it again and again. Hope takes a deep breath and then holds it some more. She closes her eyes tight.

Then, a swishing noise. The sonographer smiles and turns her screen to where Hope can see it. “There we go,” she says, “you take a look while I just take some measurements.”

Hope’s eyes fly open and she looks at the screen. She decides to hold her breath some more while the sonographer draws little lines on the screen with her mouse.

“Everything looks fine,” the sonographer says. Hope breathes out and finally allows herself to look – really look – at the screen. She sees a little jumping bean, full of life and potential.

If you’ve been affected by the issues in this story, please check out Tommy’s for support.

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