Fiction 440: Graduation

She’d always wanted a baby. It was a need so ingrained in her psyche that she would have what she called “arm urges,” moments where she literally ached to hold that warm, wiggling, cooing being in her arms. She’d known she was meant to be a mother the very first time she held her first baby doll and the need only grew as she got older. Even the stories her friends told her of long labor and excruciating pain didn’t deter her. Even when it wasn’t happening, she prayed…someday it would.

And there he was. She watched him walk across that stage, diploma raised high above his head, waving to his friends and smiling broadly. She sighed, a proud, sad sigh as she fanned herself with the program. He was so happy now, but how long would it last? She would do anything to freeze this moment, preserve that smile on his face forever, but she knew it was time. She blotted her forehead with a tissue. It was hot, just like it had been all those years ago. It was the heat, the same heat that had caused her to make such a drastic decision, that also made her so sure today was the right day to tell him. She got to her feet, cheering for the child she had wanted for so long. A mosquito buzzed somewhere near her ear and she batted it away. There had been a mosquito that day too…

She slapped the mosquito on her arm and looked around. The parking lot was empty, just the one car left. It didn’t look like anyone was coming back. She glanced again into the back window. His small chubby face was already red, his cheeks flushed and spotty. Tears were spilling from his eyes as he looked up at her. She felt that familiar ache in her arms. It was so hot and she’d seen so many sad stories in the news lately. She knew how this scenario would end if she didn’t do something. The door was unlocked. These people didn’t deserve the one thing out of life she wanted so badly, the one thing she hadn’t been able to have. Her fingers were on the door handle before she knew what she was doing. And then the door was open.

He was coming off the stage toward her. She opened her arms and he fell willingly into them, laughing.

She reached into the car and he lifted his arms willingly. “It’s ok now. You’re ok.”

She touched the tassel of his hat and sighed, “I have something I need to tell you.”

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