Happy Anniversary

“It’s okay that you forgot.”

It’s not like this year’s been anything worth remembering. Forgotten birthdays. Forgotten dates. Nights spent alone while he worked late in the office. And last week at counseling, he admitted that he never wanted kids and likely never will.

It would’ve been nice to know that before getting married.

It would’ve been nice to know that before I was seven months pregnant.

“If you wanna go out to eat or something, we can. But I don’t have much money.”

Another one of our marital problems—finances. His startup will take off soon. But right now, we spend more money than we have, and it’s taxing, draining.

“So that means I have to pay?” Again.

He shrugs. “If you want.”

I haven’t gotten what I wanted for a long time. Today, of all days, I just want to be happy. I want us to be happy. I want us to remember why we took those vows, that we loved each other once. I pray that one day I won’t worry about what additional troubles this baby will bring, like the fact that my job doesn’t currently offer paid maternity leave. I’d have to work until this baby drops just to ensure we’ll have food on the table in the days after I’m forced to leave.

“So what are we doing?” he presses.

“I guess I’ll order a pizza,” I say with a sigh as my stomach growls louder.

“For both of us?” he asks, staring at the source of my current hunger pains. I’d be foolish to call the look endearing, but a hormonal wife can only hope, right?

“I guess I’ll order two.” If I’m lucky, he’ll probably eat a slice and maybe half of another and go back to his computer, which currently gets more attention than me, leaving the rest for me to find some semblance of happiness feeding my face and fattening myself up until I pop.


Today we’re celebrating five years of blogging! Let’s make this anniversary happier than the one in today’s story. 😉

Cold Turkey

“Why would anyone want to use a turkey baster to get pregnant? Wouldn’t a syringe be easier? Like inserting a tampon?”

And with that, Thanksgiving dinner was ruined. We stood around the dining room table. On it sat a feast from corner to corner— roasted turkey, honey baked ham, sweet cornbread, mac and cheese, chicken liver stuffing, sweet potato casserole, rice and giblet gravy, and of course the collards and ham hock.

Catherine threw down cousin Raquel’s hand, suspecting it was her own surprise pregnancy that sparked the comment. She turned and ran to the bathroom, cousin Darrel, the father to be, on her heels.

“I bet she’s going to throw up now.” If Raquel’s foot could go any further down her throat, the ankles would be knocking on her two front teeth.

“Dammit, Raquel. All I asked you to do was say the blessing!” Aunt Beanie said.

Raquel shrugged. “I just said what everybody else was thinking. Do you have any idea how hard it is to break a condom? Unless it’s already damaged, it’s nearly impossible. She had to have—”

“Enough!” Beanie shouted.

Uncle Sly wrung his fingers from of Nana’s tight, grip. “Well, if no one’s eating, kickoff is at four.”

“All I see is Darrel’s sperm on the turkey now,” cousin Tasha said.

Beanie and Raquel each made gagging noises, and one by one, everyone congregated back to the living room, formed a semi circle around the flat screen. We left Nana in the dining room to admire the crisp, golden skin of the turkey alone. Thanks to her early onset Alzheimer’s, she won’t remember the hours she wasted cooking such a vast spread that no one would eat.

—Nortina


Day 1 of 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans

Expecting

Finish It! #34 begins with:

She saw the bundle in the corner, covered by dirty blankets. It moved. It was freezing cold. No wonder it was trying to find cover or at least a little bit of it under the shredded and filthy fabric. It must be desperate, she thought. She was just about to walk on when she heard the sound coming from under the blankets. And it was not what she had expected to hear. She froze and slowly turned around….

And here’s my story:

Diane slowly unwrapped the blankets.

It couldn’t have been more than a day old, it’s eyes barely able to open in the sunlight. Its tiny fingers clamped onto her thumb. Despite its small size, it pulled her closer, drawing in her body heat.

It cried louder. Clothed in only the dirty blankets it lay in, it spread its legs to reveal that it was a girl.

Diane scooped the baby into her arms, pressed her against her chest and pulled her fleece coat tightly around her to seal in the heat and warm the child’s shivering, cold body. She looked around and inside the nearby dumpster for evidence that a birth might have taken place there. She walked further up the sidewalk, searched the alleys between buildings for the unwed teenager or homeless mother who’d assumed this innocent child had a better chance of survival abandoned on the side of the road when the closest hospital was only two blocks away.

Diane paused before turning the corner toward Hudson General. The child’s shivering had stilled, her breaking steady. She pulled back the collar of her coat to look down at her. Her skin was caked in dried blood, but Diane could see her natural color beginning to flush her cheeks as her body temperature slowly rose.

She would wash her when she got home. Maybe there was a pack of diapers, some bottles, a few onesies still stored in her garage from her fraudulent baby shower last spring. She would have to check the expiration date on the formula, but she was certain there was a can on the top shelf in her kitchen cabinet.

Diane smiled to herself as she bounced the baby against her chest. Pregnant women are magnets for touchy hands. However, none of her friends, or colleagues, not even her husband, thought to reach out a hand and feel how squishy her stomach was.

Unfortunately, faking a birth was more difficult. She had to go to the hospital, and her Griffin had to go with her and discover her whole charade. If only she had found this little bundle three months prior— before Griffin moved back to West Memphis and mailed her the divorce papers.

“My water broke while you were at work,” she imagined telling him. “I had her in the bathtub. She came so quickly, I didn’t have time to call you.” Of course, she would have had to obtain some fake blood to corroborate her story.

“Come on, Stephanie,” she whispered into her coat, kissing the top of the baby’s head. She turned in the opposite direction of the hospital. The lights emitted from the facility dimmed against her back. “Mommy’s got some clothes for you to try on.” They were blue for Griffin, Jr., but the doctor had obviously gotten it wrong. Besides, fingers are often mistaken for little wangers on the sonogram.

—Nortina

Future Soccer Mom

“I’d love a frozen banana dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with salt,” she tells him as she licks peanut butter from the spoon and drops it into the jar between her thighs. “Not too sweet. I can’t take anymore midnight penalty kicks.”

Wedding Portrait

She curls her shoulders every time he nibbles on her ear, pinches her upper arm. I have to capture it— the love and playfulness of this day. I dab light pink smudges across her high cheek bones with my middle finger. I dip the tip of my brush into the brown and black and trace a line around her collarbone to bring out the sharp curve of her bare shoulders.

Then I see it— how she radiates from head to toe.  By the way they bite each other’s bottom lip, they don’t know it yet, but a woman’s intuition is never wrong. I saturate the canvas in scarlet, lavender, and chartreuse. I darken her complexion, kiss it with the sun using maroon and amber. I deepen his onyx tuxedo. The bright colors accent the ivory in her dress, the light around her abdomen.

“No charge,” I tell them I as present the finished product. “My blessings to you and your new family.”

word count: 162

—Nortina


Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers is a weekly challenge where you write a story in 100-150 words (give or take 25 words) using the provided photo prompt as inspiration.

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Sunday Photo Fiction: Fertility Goddess

“What the hell is that?” Jasmine asked as Alana placed a wooden figurine about two feet tall onto the end table in Jasmine’s living room.

“It’s an African fertility goddess. Mbaba wana . . . something or another. It’s Zulu. Do you like it?”

“Girl, you know I don’t believe in that stuff.”

“I know, but you and David have been trying so hard to have a baby. And I know it’s really been getting you down that you’re still not pregnant. I thought this would cheer you up.”

Jasmine twisted her mouth.

“If it helps, I only paid five bucks for it,” Alana said.

“Thrift store?”

“Girl, you already know!”

* * * *

That night, Jasmine awoke to someone poking her stomach. A heavy-set, brown skin woman with long dreadlocks stood over her. Jasmine thought about screaming, asking the woman how she got in her house, who she was, demanding she leave.

The woman turned, looked straight in Jasmine’s eyes, and making a popping sound with her mouth, she poked Jasmine one last time in the navel before vanishing.

Jasmine quickly shook her husband lying beside her.

“Whaaa,” he said groggily.

“Take off your shorts!” she said as she shuffled out of her panties underneath the covers.

word count: ~200

—Nortina


This is in response to Sunday Photo Fiction: write a story around 200 words based on the provided photo prompt. Click the froggy icon to read other stories and add your own.

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