She shouldn’t have worn the burnt orange sweater anymore. It was fraying from age and also from being stretched by the mass of her pregnancy weight. But she could not help herself. It was her favorite color and the thickness was perfect for these few weeks of cool, dry weather. Her brother came right out and said she looked like a pumpkin in it. He was a dick, but an observant one, to be honest. It wouldn’t cover her stomach for much longer and she still had six weeks until her due date.

Her friends raved about the glow of their “pregnancy” hair, but Amielle’s was as lifeless as ever. She did find that her sense of smell had magnified, and not in a good way. Every scent seemed to be hard-wired into her stomach, causing upset and distress that made its way out of her mouth and her backside. Peppermint oil eased some of the impact- a tip from her Mom that was worthwhile and perhaps the only advice she actually took from her.

Amielle never really bonded with her mother. They were too much alike, though each would dispute that notion. Her dad and her brother suffered through so many drawn out, passive-aggressive spats that it forced them both to leave. Dad for another woman who turned out to be even more stressful and Kory for the structure of the Marines.

It was so odd to think that all of them ended up living in the same general vicinity given their tortured history. It didn’t mean they had reunited in any tangible sense of the word, but Kory did check on her progress with the baby about once a month. Her Dad even called a few times to see if he could help somehow. Amielle always managed to change the subject so she didn’t have to let him down with a no. That she cared enough to do that struck her as a plus. Maybe it was the hormones or perhaps she was realizing that being a parent is often about making choices you don’t want to make.

© 2021 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

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