A Christmas tale
Mary Lou groaned with discomfort and cradled her heavily swollen stomach as the Toyota Corona Station wagon hit another bump in the pot-holed road.
“Have mercy Joey…” she wailed “my bladder feels like a bag full of 2 litre soft drink bottles.”
Sweat had made Joey’s hair cling to his forehead in damp, slug-like clumps.
“Oh jeez, sorry hun. I think this road’s in worse condition than when Blaxland and Lawson first tromped through here…”
Mary Lou reached across and caressed the back of her husband’s neck. Her hand came away soaked. Stupid old car’s air conditioning system had broken down just outside Sydney – as luck would have it on the hottest Christmas Day in 30 years.
“Yeah I know …it’s not your fault. It’ll be dark soon, maybe we should stop and try and stay somewhere here in the mountains. Blackheath maybe? I’d love a shower and an air conditioned room – not to mention a nice soft bed”
Joey looked from his wife’s big brown eyes, to her huge belly as she shifted uncomfortably in her seat. She looked like a magnificent, angelic whale.
“Sure babe. First motel I see, we’ll pull over. A good night’s sleep, then an early start in the morning – and we should be in Dubbo in time for Mamma’s famous Boxing Day Feast”
“You make good sense Joey” she smiled.
Mary Lou leaned back on the headrest and tried not to think about how uncomfortable she felt. At just over 38 weeks into her pregnancy, most of the worst was over. The morning sickness…the tiredness..the mood swings. Now she was just plain HUGE. She’d thought about the day of the birth a thousand times. Happy thoughts. She was looking forward to seeing her first child…but even more, she was looking forward to the look on her husband’s face when he cradled his child for the first time. The thought always made her feel serene. It helped when she felt so sick of being pregnant that she just wanted to scream. She thought about next Christmas. They’d be a family. They’d have a tree…and an almost-one-year-old they could shower with presents and love. She closed her eyes and smiled. But before her smile faded, Mary Lou’s face gave way to a look of astonishment.
“Oh my gosh! My water’s broken”
Joey didn’t have time to fully comprehend what she’d said, before a stream of fluid began to trickle from between her legs, soaking the tatty seat cover.
This time, Mary Lou’s groan said “pain”.
“Oh jeeezzz” He jerked the car onto the gravelly shoulder. The tyres grumbled and skated across rocks until finally jolting to a stop.
“The baby’s coming Joey…and it hurts” she howled..
“I know hun. I know. . We’ve got time to get you to a hospital…haven’t we? At the ante natal classes they said that first labours can take hours…even days …right? The baby can wait till we find a hospital…can’t heeeeeee…?”
Joey winced as Mary Lou reached across and grabbed the front of his shirt – and with it his plentiful crop of chest hair.
“Mwaaaaaa it’s a big contraaaaction Joey…”
“Just breathe. “
“I can’t breathe…it hurts too much. I need drugs Joey. I don’t want to do this. I’ve changed my mind”
Joey hugged his wife and gave her a wry smile. Remain calm, he told himself.
READ MORE IN THE PUBLISHED ANTHOLOGY. BUY FROM AMAZON OR MOST SELLING SITES. SMASHWORD HAS FORMATS FOR ALL READERS.