Someone Else's Baloney
He does like to put in the effort. No one could accuse him of anything less. I would never. I’m also not a very accusing sort of person. I’m more go with the flow, I guess. The irony kills.
That’s a lot of flowers. His bowtie is straight. Someone must have helped him with it. There are candles and everything.
He’s very romantic. Not that such things bother me. I mean, they do sometimes. Not always. But I’m kind of just over romance at this point.
It’s not the romance that bothers me now. I do think his timing is a bit wrong. I mean, as romantic as giving birth is, my sixteenth contraction is hardly a traditional time to propose. I’m not traditional really, but the hospital beds are sort of a turn-off. Is one supposed to be turned on during proposals?
He’s very nervous. I would be too, since he’s lit like five candles and the fire alarm in here is sure to go off at any second.
Hey, called it. Here come the nurses. Saved by the bell. Or alarm, I guess. Saved by the alarm? Great. We’ve been here an hour and we already have a reputation as that couple who’s into arson.
You know that moment when you’re giving birth and coughing your lungs out because suddenly you’re surrounded in smoke and sterilizing spray and you have to decide whether or not to marry the now extremely embarrassed and apologetic man being escorted out of the delivering room? Well yeah. So like me now. That moment. Well, it’s at moments like this when you realize that you forgot to do laundry today and the last thing you want to do is sleep in sheets that haven’t been washed in a week.
I am very aware of how much work he’s done. Even the table next to me has a strange lacey paper thing on it.
Oh, dear God the pain!
A kind-looking nurse gets me water, which is nice. I asked for a raspberry milkshake, but I try not to be a complainer. I don’t like to cause problems.
“Is that the father?” Someone’s a little curious, isn’t she?
“No, actually, I think that’s a doctor.”
“Yes, I know. I mean the man who just…”
“Oh, no. He’s just a friend. There is no father.” She predictably can’t wrap her mind around single parenthood.
“He’s not around, or…”
“No, like there is no father. I just went to the sperm bank.” Sometimes you just want a kid, you know? A companion you have complete responsibility for and control over. Not a family. “Can you bring George back please?”
The nurse is embarrassed, which is probably the only reason she allows him back into the room. That and they checked him for matches.
Ah, there’s my man. He’s rather odd-looking, but in a cute way I guess.
He still wants to marry me. It’s been like twenty minutes. There’s no pleasing some people.
His bowtie isn’t straight anymore. Pity. Life has ruined him. Oh! He has a raspberry milkshake with him.
“You know I’m allergic to raspberries.” He smiles and hands it to me.
“It’s all sugary chemicals, don’t worry. It’s not like there’s actual fruit in it.”
“I’m lactose intolerant.” It tastes really good.
“I know. It’s soy. How is it?”
“Have you thought about my proposal?” Can’t he just give it a rest already?
The pain is back. Why do people have children? Demonic fireball from hell.
Oh, George. He has pillows at the ready. Classic nice guy.
“I just don’t think we’re ready.” Or in love. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really believe in love, but it might be nice to be attracted to the person I watch as I walk down the aisle. That being said, I have very mixed feelings on marriage as a whole. Sometimes I just need to be unbound and independent and free. Sometimes I just need to go to the sperm bank alone.
“It’s been five years, Francis. How can you not think-” I let out a really loud scream of pain, but honestly I’m not even having a contraction right now. I just don’t want to deal with this. Now I don’t necessarily think one should use one’s unborn child as a pawn in the game of life, but also I guess I am kind of doing just that.
He’s patting my belly in a supposedly comforting way, but all it does is make me want to pee.
I am very impressed that he set this all up. I mean, the fact that I had to sit here alone and in pain for the first forty-five minutes after we got a room does sort of take away from the grandness of his gesture, but I suppose it’s the thought that counts. I wonder if they’ll make us take it with us when we leave or if they’ll just keep it all. Where did he even get this stuff?
A nurse is here now to check how dilated I am and I legitimately opened my eyes wide. I was affronted for like thirty seconds when she stuck her hand between my legs.
I want a goldfish. George is gone now. It’s been fourteen hours. God hates me. Not that I believe in God, because I don’t. But if there were a higher power, she would be getting some dirty Facebook posts about her right about now.
George came back, but was escorted outside again because you are apparently not allowed to have a bowl of live goldfish inside the delivery room. Who knew?
I can see him through the delivery room window. He’s not doing so well. He’s a little sweaty. Not in a gross way, but he always gets sweaty when he’s upset. His bowtie is now completely vertical. Has no one bothered to fix it for him? The back of his hair is sticking up too. He probably hasn’t slept at all. He gives me a wildly supportive smile as he is taken out of view, his hands curled into a thumbs-up. I hope he’s eaten something. He should also take a nap.
He left the ring, because you are allowed to have a small piece of possibly dangerous metal in the room, even if harmless fish are confiscated on sight. How do we even know that this metal isn’t toxic? At least the fish came from a store. Who knows where George’s mom got it anyway?
George. Lord, what to do about George?
Holy feet! Is it too late to back out of birth now?
I want another raspberry milkshake.
I want my fish back.
I put his ring in the trash, but then I felt bad and took it out. It has a piece of baloney stuck to it.
Someone else’s baloney.
The nurse got me water.
About the Author: Helen Everbach grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia, the daughter of two intellectuals. She feels that writing is activism and it is very important to include diverse characters in her work in a way which is both positive and accurate.