Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Blue (10/08/09)
TITLE: Does Hope Count?
By Diana Dart
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Screams may have shocked her husband into action. Jackson sat rigid beside her, clenching and unclenching his fists. Apparently the T.V. episode was of more interest than Hannah, whose conversation consisted of one word answers and stiff nods. Neither had anything left for the other.
Two words jolted them into movement.
“Hannah Kender.” A small green light flashed above the second nursing station. A graying nurse looked grimly over spectacles as they approached and her silent glare ordered them to sit.
“What’s brought you to the emergency room?”
Their story spilled out in monotone. Forming all that they had been through into a few scribbled words should have been gut-wrenching, but disappointment had stained them. It was as if it had all happened, and was happening to someone else.
How many other couples had longed for a child and were denied time and again? How many men had watched their wife’s spirits deflate a little with each failure? How many patients had walked into the lobby of Tescartes Fertility Clinic with hope blooming?
Nothing had been easy or straightforward for the Kenders. Side effects had set their nerves on edge. First tries had turned into second attempts and then third why nots. Hannah had stopped telling her friends about appointments and Jackson’s mom was completely in the dark over the latest procedure.
It was as if they knew how it would end.
But had they known when the tests came back positive? Had Jackson suspected as he painted the spare bedroom baby blue? Did Hannah have any doubts when she’d strolled quietly through the newborn section at Walmart? She couldn’t resist the tiny hockey jerseys and knew that even if they had a girl, she’d be proud to match her daddy when he donned his blue jersey. Hope had been planted in the fallow ground of their hearts and a seedling was growing.
Hannah had found herself watching other mothers and their kids with interest, instead of an edge of resentment. Jackson had let himself dream of anxiously holding his own baby. Both had looked into each other’s eyes and found the permission to be optimistic and expectant.
But all had collapsed within a few short weeks. Painless spotting was normal, they were assured. Hannah’s beta numbers were still growing, but so were her fear and unease. Prayers became scattered, distracted pleadings.
After ten days of occurrences, Hannah stood in the fresh painted, sky-coloured nursery and swallowed hard. She must know. Would the crib be filled after all? Was their dream approaching fulfillment or would they be mocked again?
At Tescartes their fears were confirmed by ultrasound photos. Hannah’s uterus was vacant. The sac, still growing and thriving, was lodged in her left fallopian tube and if not removed, was a threat to Hannah’s life. The child they had longed for, had worked for, had prayed for must be put aside for its mother’s safety.
Hannah’s heart wrenched in two.
Silent tears coursed down Jackson’s face as he drove to the hospital. She had simply stared out the window, unable to face him. Autumn trees slid by in their array of fall colours. Charcoal clouds blanketed the sky above, blotting out any signs of blue, heavy with the season’s moisture. They promised rain.
“Hope counts for nothing.” Jackson had spoken firmly as they pulled into the hospital. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t be here.”
She had no ready denial. And so they had walked in, the papers from Tescartes clenched in Jackson’s hand. It was the only picture of this baby they would ever have.
“Please follow me.” Away the nurse stalked, without time for sympathy and understanding there was nothing to be said.
The blue sky was stifled, the blue room was empty and the blue baby clothes lay neatly folded collecting dust. Did hope count for anything? Could it combat the creeping grey, warm the pristine emptiness or bring anything to life? Hannah’s mental screeches turned to supplications. Could it? Did it?
Doctors came. Papers were signed. A shot was administered. Their dream was terminated. And outside it continued to rain.
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