Two Pink Lines
By Gia, age 18, Florida
Sweet Designs Featured Writer
"Are you there? Can you hear me?" She didn't yell, rather spoke in the same tone as usual.
"Yes, I can hear you, but it's loud. Speak up," he said, yelling through the phone receiver.
Her left hand was on the remote control, sifting through the channel guide, her wedding band making noises against the plastic.
He yelled into the phone, "Peter and I are having a good time. You're the best for getting these for us," She had purchased two tickets for a hockey game for them, as a surprise.
She remembered the two pink lines that were in the bathroom garbage can. Caught off guard, she knew they weren't ready to be parents. It wasn't the best place to start talking about it; he might not even hear her. She heard the sound of buzzers going off, probably signaling the start of the second period.
"Can't hear you! Bye," he said.
The clock was just hitting three am when the sound of a key inside the lock made the slightest noise. The other side, his side of the bed, was still made.
"Zach?" she called from the doorframe.
"Peter and I lost track of time. The club inside the arena is great. Cheap beer - I have to bring you there when we go to a game," he said.
Andrea knew she wouldn't be drinking for months, but didn't want him to find out that way. The faucet was dripping in the bathroom; Zach kept putting off fixing it. The smell of cigarettes was fresh on his new jacket.
"I wasn't smoking. It was Peter." He tried to sound convincing.
She wasn't going to start a fight with him now; it wouldn't end nicely. The thoughts of the baby and him not coming home didn't make her feel like it was a good combination.
"Go to sleep, Zach. It's late," she said. He said nothing. In the morning she would tell him, tell him her news.
"Andrea? Are you up?" he groaned from bed. The blinds were still pulled, the faucet still dripping. Her mouth was filled with toothpaste. The smell of morning sickness was present. She wrapped her robe around her body, trying to get composed.
"Zach, I need to tell you something." The clock in the hallway was ticking louder than usual. He wasn't opening his mouth to speak; he just groaned and pulled the sheets up and rolled over.
"Answer me, please. I need to tell you something. Something important." She was pushing her weight from each foot, back and forth.
"Whatever it is, can it wait? It's only seven in the morning. Damn it, Andrea," he said. She needed to stay strong. She followed him to the bathroom where he was brushing his teeth, not making any eye contact with her.
"No, it can't. Pay attention," she said and crossed her arms over her stomach. He didn't notice. He didn't notice her getting up early and running to the bathroom. He didn't notice that, instead of her morning run, she wanted to just lie in bed. He never did.
The baby's screaming was finally over at around midnight. She didn't breathe too loudly, worried about waking the baby. She tiptoed around the firetrucks and other baby toys that were scattered around the apartment floor.
"I need a break," she told her mother over the phone while trying to load the dishwasher.
"Bring the baby here. We'd love to see him. Please, Andrea. You need a reward," her mother said. She knew where this conversation was headed.
"Really? A baby? Us?" He couldn't form sentences. He was surprised at the thought of being a father. They were having a boy, Lucas, who would grow up to be a soccer player. He'd have blonde hair with her green eyes. Doctor appointment after doctor appointment, Zach just didn't care. He would rather drink at Peter's and not come home for days.
When her water broke and she needed him, the nursing staff couldn't find him. "I'm so sorry I'm late. I want to see him, have them bring me Lucas," he said.
"He needs his father," she said.
"Sounds like a lost cause," she heard someone say in the room while she played with the stuffed bear that was lying next to her, smelling of Similac and baby powder, her new scent that never washed off, even with the showers and floral soaps.
"He's a good father, mom," she said.
"When he comes home," her mother responded.
The baby slept until five thirty, when a car alarm from across the street woke him.
"Lucas, shhh. Lucas, I'm here," A deep voice bounced off the walls of the apartment. She hadn't dozed off; instead, she sat up in bed, not bothering to turn on the lamp.
"Andrea?" he called out again, getting closer to her door, hearing Lucas sucking on his pacifier. The streetlight that was right outside her window was flickering and a dog barked somewhere in the distance.
"I'm right here," she finally said. She heard the door open quietly and his footsteps moving towards the bed.
"I'm going to turn the light on," he said. She could smell his soap and too many cigarettes. She saw him, as he stood there holding the baby. Her baby. Their baby.
She let Zach sleep on the couch in the baby's room. The baby wasn't fussing anymore. Tonight, he made a little whimper, which woke both her and Zach.
She heard Zach try to whisper, "Mommy's sleeping. Daddy is right here," They still hadn't talked. She felt safer knowing he was here.
"Andrea, we are going to have to talk sometime or another. Please sit down with me," he said after putting the baby down for a nap. She still couldn't look him in the eye, too worried that she'd stop being mad.
"I don't want to start with this. You think because you stay over a few nights that everything is okay? You're a father and husband. Peter may not be, but you are. This isn't high school," she lectured as she turned away from the bill covered counter.
Zach was staring at her, not saying a word and tossing a pen back and forth.
"I'm sorry," he said. She didn't move. Her look was stoic, as if she was thinking. She remembered all the times he would come home with flowers and would shelter her in his arms at night. She wanted that man to be back.
"You shouldn't be apologizing to me. Be apologizing to yourself." She'd let anger take over. The microwave started to beep; Lucas's bottle was ready.
It was the baby's three-month birthday. "Lucas, it's your birthday," Andrea was cooing at the smiling baby. The endless sounds of nursery rhymes were playing from the speakers in the living room.
Zach had gone out for more formula, toilet paper, and pizza for them. He walked in the apartment door, struggling with the bags in his hands. "Happy birthday, my man." The baby banged his fists on his high chair.
Andrea knew they would talk, but not today. She would rather watch her son and husband play with cereal. They never touched, focusing solely on the baby. He picked up the disposable camera he had gotten at the market and clicked away, watching Lucas play with the ribbons from the presents. "Zach, let's put him down for a nap. He's been up for a long time," she told him while cleaning up. The baby yawned silently as Zach held him close.
They sat down on the couch in his room as they heard his breath go in and out. They again said nothing, but he looked at her. He studied her profile, the bags under her eyes and the way her auburn hair wasn't neatly in a ponytail. He liked that. It seemed real to him. He watched the way she got up to check on Lucas and stroke his head. "Let's go talk, please," he said. She walked out of the room and he followed her, shutting the door on the sleeping baby.