Olive leaned against the heavy mahogany door upon entering, sighed and tried to relax. The party celebrating her parents’ fortieth anniversary in the most exclusive restaurant in town was a trial, especially with Darren in Africa on business yet again. It seemed as if her mother had informed everyone about how long they’d been trying and failing; aunts, cousins and even strangers were giving her all sorts of ridiculous folk cures. Her mother shared her most intimate and private problems with so many people.
The year of negative pregnancy tests and constant monthly reminders of her fate.
The frantic calls telling him to get home, racing the clock for attempts that never produced.
The genetics test for every defect under the sun on both her and her husband.
The ovulating tests. The monthly, then bi-weekly, and finally weekly ultrasounds.
And the drugs. Oh the drugs. Her medicine cabinet would spill out piles of orange and white bottles, an avalanche of reminders.
Olive sighed and moved away from the door toward the room they’d decorated, in case it ever were to happen, and leaned over the dusty furniture, snatching a frilly pillow that was spotted with small green dots. She meandered up to her room and lowered herself onto the bed without even removing her gold sandals, hugging the pillow to her chest and inhaling the smell of the store where they’d bought it, the cushion still fresh and new as if they had not purchased it years ago. She slid it towards her belly a bit, wondering what it would be like, and then lifted her designer silk dress and placed the pillow under it.
She tried to imagine what it would be like as her hands held the faux belly as if she were feeling for movement. She felt nothing, something she was becoming used to in more ways than one.
She reached over to the bed stand and picked up her phone, left behind for the night on purpose. Her doctor was supposed to call earlier today and let her know if they had been successful, and as she pushed the send button her phone lit up, showing a notification that she had a missed call and a voicemail.
Her head turned toward the photographs on their nearby dresser, family portraits from her childhood, with the family portraits of her three brothers next to them: all the brothers had five of six children. The photos were accompanied by a picture of her sister and her sister’s wife, standing with their adopted daughter. Olive loved each of those children as if they were her own, but in the moment turned away from them in disgust. She wanted to run over and open the top drawer and with her arm shove them all out of her sight forever, or until this all finally ended.
She reached over and dropped the phone back onto the bed stand and let her hands run over the pillow again, drifting off into a listless sleep, imagining the best, but not ready to hear the worst.
Photograph by Tom Hinds.
Watch for this story from Darren’s point of view later this week!