To read the why behind posting this (very) rough draft, click here.
She could hear the squawks from the baby monitor. They were invading her dreams, a very sweet dream which involved a beach, the blue of a calm ocean, and her own little servant. Juan, her servant boy, brought her a new drink whenever the cup carrying the mango-concoction emptied. It was warm, relaxing, and, in a word, divine. Suddenly the crying was calling her from her tropical haven and she opened a bleary eye, trying to decide between chucking a pillow at the monitor or just snapping it off. Before she could choose, an arm snaked around her middle and drew her close.
“Jessie,” came her husband’s sleepy sigh. “Do you think Wyatt would notice if we went back to sleep for a couple of hours?” he asked.
Jessica smiled to herself, a bit humored at the idea of 10-month-old Wyatt having to fend for himself. Surely Emily would be up soon and could take over the care of her brother. Doubtful at the ripe age of four, but she could dream, right? Rob’s arms pulled her closer and she could feel his body begin to relax as he started to doze off again. This was nice, this place between sleep and awake. She treasured their Saturday mornings when Rob got to sleep in and they could rest awhile in bed together.
Just then Wyatt’s whimpers turned into actual cries and she knew it was just a matter of time before those turned into actual screams. She poked Rob with her elbow, “1-2-3… not it!” She loved the idea of returning to slumber and letting Rob handle the little guy. Rob snorted, “You cheat! I wasn’t even fully awake.” She gave a saucy smile and turned back on her side, having every intention of returning to her tropical slumber. Suddenly she was flipped onto her back; she found herself nose-to-nose with her husband and staring into intense green eyes. He lovingly flicked her nose, “Cheaters never prosper.” And with a bounce of the mattress she watched her long-legged husband head out to answer Wyatt’s cries.
She listened to her husband murmur comfort to Wyatt and Wyatt’s answering giggles through the baby monitor. He was such a good dad. He never took their children for granted and always wanted to help in any way he could. She was blessed, of that she was certain. Soon Wyatt and Rob were making car noises together; crisis averted now that Wyatt’s diaper was dry and he had his dad’s attention. Jess breathed a quick prayer of thanks.
She heard the patter of little feet coming down the stairs and knew Emily was up for the day too. She listened as Emily settled herself in the nursery, and bombarded her daddy with question after question. They’d hit the “why” stage again and rarely did an answer pacify Emily’s curiosity. Yet Rob answered each question patiently, all while playing with Wyatt and keeping him occupied. Jessica sighed, knowing that the morning had started whether she was ready for it or not. She threw back the covers, grabbed her robe off the hook, and tied the belt as she made her way to the nursery to join her family.
Abigail, Abby to family and friends, fumbled in the dark for the little stick that she knew was resting on her nightstand. Her mind barely registered the movement; it had become so routine to stick that little thermometer in her mouth before she stirred from bed. And as habits go, it mattered not that it was a Saturday morning. Rain or shine, weekday, weekend, or holiday, it was the first thing she did every day.
She waited for the little beep, indicating that her temperature had registered. She sighed, careful not to wake her sleeping husband. It was such an irony; this was the time in her cycle she hated, yet she couldn’t stop taking her temperature each morning. She analyzed each rise and dip of the temps; read into every twinge or pain; wondered whether or not this cycle might be the “magic” cycle for her and Kyle. She heard the beep and squinted in the early morning light, barely making out the digits. Her heart fall as her mind registered the drastic dip in temperature.
Her positive, optimistic side wanted to continue to hope. “Maybe it’s an implantation dip,” she thought. The other side, her cynical side, sneered. “Of course not, you twit! You know what that temp drop means; this cycle is over, and you now it!” Abby let the two sides battle it out while she swung her legs over the side of the bed. She now knew that the cramps she’d been feeling the other day were not signs of an impending baby, as she wished every month, but those of her monthly cycle. She double-checked to see that Kyle was still sleeping. She didn’t want to waken him just yet; ignorance was bliss, especially in moments like these.
She padded into the bathroom, determined to face the day with as much optimism as she could muster. This was going to be a hard day, and she should know, she’d been facing this kind of day for two years now. When she wiped, she saw the faintest tinge of pink, marking the official end of the twenty-fifth cycle of trying to conceive a child. Abby closed her eyes and leaned her head against the side of the counter; her heart broke for a second time that morning and she felt it as physically as she felt the edge of the counter digging into her forehead. The tears sprang hotly to her eyes and she did nothing to stop them from coming. She needed this time to mourn another lost opportunity of becoming a mother.
Unaware of the turmoil her sister was facing, Brooke was making her way across campus with her roommate, Holly. The two friends were anxious to get to the conference that their local Campus Crusade was putting on for the day. The conference was featuring a young author whose book had recently reached the best seller list, surprising since it was a book focused on igniting a new generation of Christians. Both Brooke and Holly had read the book, studied it in their small groups, and both felt challenged in their Christian walks as they had not been for years. It was exciting to see what God was going to do on their campus this morning, and in the months to come.
Holly was not one for waking before 10:00 and felt that 8:30 in the morning was an inhumane way to spend a Saturday morning. Heck, she often didn’t wake until 15 minutes before she had to be in class. She yawned her way through their conversation. “What do you mean he wants to “take a break”?” she asked of Brooke.
Brooke shrugged her slim shoulders and burrowed her hands deeper into her coat pocket. “I knew things had been off for a while, I just assumed he was stressed out with applications for graduate school. I had no idea that he was thinking about breaking up.”
Holly arched a perfect, auburn-colored eyebrow and answered with a slight, “Hmmmmm.” She never did care for the guy that Brooke started seeing at the beginning of the fall semester. By all accounts, Jason Reed seemed like the perfect catch; a pastor’s son from a thriving church on the east coast; the very definition of tall, dark, and handsome; he led a bible study in his off-campus apartment; and had pursued Brooke for a whole year before she gave in and started dating him. Holly’s perception of Jason was that he seemed a little too smooth, a little too full of himself for the likes of Brooke, but she’d kept her opinions to herself. Holly hooked her arm through Brooke’s, “Oh well, Brookie, it’s his loss, you know.”
A shadow slipped into Brooke’s eyes, Jason’s rejection was hurting more than she cared to admit. There seemed to be more to the story than Jason was wiling to let on but Brooke’s trustful nature wanted to take his words at face value. “Brooke, its not you, the timing just stinks right now. I’m up to my eyeballs in school work and if I want to get into the graduate program back home, I have to concentrate. You’re too much of a distraction.” All of this was said with regret on his face and a kiss on her hand. She’d smiled at him, assured him that she wasn’t upset, and left his apartment. She’d planned on going back to her place but decided that a movie was just what the doctor ordered. And there in the dark theater, sitting by herself, Brooke allowed herself to shed some tears about a lost relationship, one she wasn’t even sure she’d wanted in the first place.
Brooke and Holly walked the rest of the way in companionable silence, each lost in their own thoughts and opinions of Jason Reed. When they reached the steps of the campus’ auditorium, their thoughts turned back to the day’s agenda. There was an excitement in the air, coeds were chattering among themselves and calling out to friends that were joining them for the day. Holly dashed off to visit with a friend from her anatomy class and Brooke shook away the memories of the night before. She’d been looking forward to this conference for months and nothing, not even Jason, was going to ruin her time today. She had a feeling that God was about to do some amazing things in her life.
…to be continued…