“You’re what?” My jaw drops. I remember the doctor’s words; Premature Ovarian Failure.
“I’m pregnant!” A smile crosses her face as she takes one bounce toward me and wraps her arms around my neck. She pulls me close and hugs me tightly. “I never thought this could happen. I mean for us! We tried so hard! I’m so happy.”
I wrap my arms around her waist and return the warm embrace. For a split second everything disappears and I forget about the cold empty feelings, the despair and the bloody knuckles. We’ve tried for years, constant disappointment, charted on calendars, took temperatures, discarded home pregnancy tests. All of that disappears as I lift Laina and spin her around once.
“That’s great news honey!” The too good to be true bubble bursts, “Wait, when did you find out?”
Her brow furrows at my tone, “What do you mean?”
“When, when did you find out, when did it happen?” I push her back slightly, holding her at arm’s length.
“I found out today, I just took the test.” She holds up a pink and white plastic stick with two thin lines running across it.
I mask my face in a smile, burying my concern, and hug her once again, “I’m so happy Honey.”
After a few hours discussing baby names, Laina falls asleep easily. I don’t. This is the machine, it has to be. She’s wanted a baby for so long. I bet she saw a reality where we had a baby, a reality where it all worked out so naturally, where everything seemed perfect. I turn my head toward her sleeping form, her soft skin almost glows in the darkness, her body rises and falls with every even breath. Even if it was the machine, isn’t that okay? Doesn’t she deserve it? Don’t we deserve it? With all the heartache and trouble caused by Amber, maybe Laina deserves something good from all of this.
I finally fall asleep promising myself that I won’t tell Laina about the art or Amber or anything. I tell myself that I’m done with Pat’s machine; we have our blessing, our happy ending and that now it’s all over. I tell myself everything is fine and now we are moving forward. Even after all the self convincing, I fall asleep with a knot in the pit of my stomach because I know it’s all bullshit.