Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: PROCRASTINATE (08/04/16)
TITLE: Solid Little Cantaloupe
By Jan Ackerson
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
Two months along. What will she tell her mother?
When she is finally able to breathe normally, she drives home. She’ll figure it out later, she thinks. She has plenty of time.
At home, her mother greets her, asks about her homework. Laurie chats for a moment, bright and perky, then goes to her room and fiddles with her phone.
Several weeks later, Laurie exchanges her jeans for sweats and yoga pants, her crop tops for oversized t-shirts. She thinks her mother will probably say something soon, and she knows she should tell her. Maybe tomorrow would be a good day; her mother has her Bible study on Tuesdays, and she always comes home in a good mood.
But on this Tuesday, Laurie’s mother comes back from Bible study murmuring about one of the ladies’ teenaged sons, what a disappointment he has turned out to be. She drapes an arm around Laurie’s shoulder and tightens it in a quick squeeze. Laurie decides she can hold off for a while longer. She has plenty of time.
Another month passes, then two. Laurie doesn’t eat much, hoping she can fit into her loose clothes for a while longer. And it’s working—her bottom is actually skinnier than it’s ever been, and she’s lost the roll of pudge around her waist. There’s only a solid little cantaloupe growing under her belly button to remind her of the doctor’s words.
One morning, her mother hands Laurie her backpack, but then pulls back on it, causing Laurie to stop and look at her. You should eat more, says her mother. You’re too thin.
Her mother gives her an unexpected hug, and Laurie actually jumps back, afraid that she’ll discover the little melon. A look is exchanged—one hurt, one frightened. Laurie decides to tell her mother soon. Definitely this week—but she has plenty of time.
Despite her changing body, Laurie tries to believe it isn’t real. She makes plans to go on the senior trip. She looks at prom dresses online. She even considers trying out for the softball team. These plans are dashed one evening while watching television; a startling movement in the vicinity of her navel makes further denial impossible. It’s late for this, and Laurie had thought maybe the doctor was wrong. Maybe she had a tumor or something.
But no. This fluttering little visitor is not a tumor. Laurie is suddenly frightened, and the reality of her uncertain future now crowds her brain; her vision dims for a moment, and her ears roar. She’ll tell her mother tomorrow. There’s no more time—Laurie is terrified of her mother’s judgment, but more terrified still of the alien within her body.
Tomorrow comes—a Saturday—and Laurie brings a mug of coffee into her mother’s bedroom when the sun has begun to warm the blankets. She waits while her mother, puzzled by this small gift, takes a sip or two, then she perches on the side of the bed.
Mom, she says. Mom. Then she takes the mug and places it on the nightstand. Mommy. Laurie takes her mother’s hand and places it low on her belly.
I’m scared, Mommy.
Her mother’s face runs through a kaleidoscope of emotions: shock, anger, disgust, fear. She pulls her hand away and sits up in bed, breathing heavily. Laurie turns aside, her shoulders slumped, and stands to leave.
But her mother’s hand is on her t-shirt, tugging her gently back onto the bed. The emotion that has come to rest on her face is tender. Her mother lifts up the blankets and motions to Laurie. Come in here, she says. She scoots over, and Laurie climbs in next to her mother, who sends a cautious hand back onto Laurie’s tummy.
Six months, about.
Silence. Then: I wish you had told me.
I thought you’d be mad. That you’d tell me … I’m going to hell.
Laurie … are you okay?
I think so.
Good. I love you.
Laurie hasn’t really figured out her mother’s faith, but she understands this: the hand on her belly is a benediction.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.