My world

The doors flew open and I stood up as people ran past me, voices echoing off the bright white walls.

“Emergency, coming through!”

“Mind out the way please!”

“Watch out!”

I watched as they disappeared through another door, the sound travelling with them. Sinking down into the chair, I was engulfed by silence once more. The distant hum of the vending machine wasn’t enough to register as a sound.

Why don’t they make these chairs more comfortable? I swear I’ve been sitting here for hours. My arse is numb.

“You can come through now Mr Penton.”  The woman gave me a kind smile. She pities me, I can tell. I told her to call me Steve, but she never does.

“I’m sorry we kept you, the last appointment overran.” I sat down in the chair next to her desk, where I’d sat before. It was uncomfortable. What was it with these chairs?

“It’s OK doc.” I don’t really want to be here in the first place. 

There it was, that kind smile again.

“There’s no easy way for me to say this.”

I knew it.

“The tests show what we thought.” She paused and I felt my shoulders sag. “It’s impossible you’ll be able to have children.”

I knew it. A sob escaped out of my lips, I couldn’t control it. “I’m sorry,” I whispered, to no one in particular.

“Why don’t you bring Sarah in so we can talk it through with her. Discuss the options.”

I looked up at her, my eyes wet with tears. “I can’t.”

“Why don’t you want her to know?” Her voice was soft and gentle; she wasn’t being nosy. Kindness poured out of her and I couldn’t bear it. My cheeks flamed red.

“I’m too ashamed. Too ashamed to say there’s something wrong with me, I-”

She tried to interrupt me, but I cut her off. “Please don’t. I just can’t. Can we leave it at that?”

“OK. Of course. You have my details, perhaps we can chat another time.”

“Sure.” I stood up quickly, eager to get out of there. I knew I’d never go back.

*

“Emergency, coming through!”

“Mind out the way please!”

“Watch out!”

I ran behind them, needing to keep up, when an arm shot out from nowhere and stopped me.

“Hey, that’s my wife!” I shouted, “I need to be with her!”

“You can go through shortly, we just need to get some details from you.” He registered the panic on my face. “Don’t worry, she’s in safe hands.”

I looked through the window and saw her face, red, and twisted in pain. My stomach lurched. I love her so much. I filled in the forms as quick as I could. Come on, come on.

“You can go in now.”

She looked up as I ran into the room.

“Steve! Thank god.” She clutched my face and breathed heavily. “It hurts. It hurts so much.”

“I know baby, I know. You’re doing great.” My heart swelled and I kissed her on her forehead, breathing her in. Her hair smelt of fresh berries and coconut. “Hang on in there. We’ve been waiting for this for so long, we’re so close.”

I held her hand and closed my eyes. I can’t believe it.

“3 years. If I’d known it’d feel like this, I think I would’ve given up sooner.” She laughed. The pain had temporarily subsided, the contraction finished and the next one not yet started.

“You don’t mean that.”

“I don’t mean that.” She leant her head on my shoulder. “This is everything I’ve wanted. You, me and our baby boy. I don’t care how long it took to get here.”

“Me too, love, me too.” I gently lifted her chin and looked into her eyes. “I couldn’t be happier right now. I love you so much.” Even though I know what you did.

“I love you too.” Even though you cheated on me?

Her grip on my hand tightened.

“Breathe! You’re going to have to push now. Get ready!” The midwife was firm but kind. “You can do it Sarah, he’s nearly here.”

That day in the Doctor’s office seemed a long time ago. A different life. It was like it’d never happened.  

A loud wail echoed off the white walls, piercing the air. Sarah sobbed with relief and I’d never felt so much love. I held her close.

“You did it babe! I’m so proud of you.”   

I looked at her. It didn’t matter. She’d never know.

“Here you go Dad.” The midwife handed me the tiny bundle, breaking my thoughts.   

I looked down at him, this tiny bundle with a wrinkly face, wrapped in yellow. His big eyes stared back at me and it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered.

He was our son. My world.  

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