Free Fiction


* * *One* * * 
Evening, February 22, 2001

My eyes widened taking in all of the pear-shape reflection staring back at me.  The pale yellow, cotton house frock stretched around me was far from chic, top-of-the-line mommy where.  It was simple, but it was comfortable and that’s all that mattered.
A gentle caress of my belly seemed to calm the little passenger inside who was busy flipping and kicking while I gazed into the mirror. 
Even though my gift made sure I was never truly alone, I knew this was different. For the first time I would be responsible, and really connected to a living, breathing being. 
The thought was terrifying and exciting all the same time.  It made three weeks too much and not enough time to prepare for my little ones arrival. And at eight months pregnant it finally hit me.
I’m gonna be a mommy.
Buzzzzzz Buzz Buzzzzzz.  The call of the doorbell bounced off the walls of my tiny apartment announcing the arrival of Mrs. Whitaker, my 6 o’clock appointment.
“Well little one, I’m off to work.” I said with one last caress of the tiny passenger I carried.
After a few waddled paces I was standing at the door separating me from my reality.  I took a deep breath and opened the door just as Mrs. Whitaker was preparing another round of her doorbell symphony.
“Ohhh, what took you so long?” She asked. 
“I’m sorry. Do come in.” I replied with the understanding that no answer was good enough.
Impatient, the 5 foot 2 poster child for hair buns and support hose pushed past me and took a seat at the table that doubled and sometimes tripled as a dining room table, desk and ironing board.
“Come now girl, I don’t have all day.”
She was pushy, but she paid well. And I could really use the money.
As I eased down into the seat across from her, she followed my every movement with scrutiny.  I knew the disdain on her face had nothing to do with the services I offered.  And ironically, it was as if she went to the same school of judgment as my mother. But for me this was an honest living.
“So who is it this time Mrs. Whitaker?” I asked of my frequent client.
“I thought maybe we could look for Harry just one more time.”
Mrs. Whitaker was referred to me by another client and over the past year we have reached out to everyone in her bloodline who she felt died with unfinished business. To be honest, I half expected that she was soon start on lost pets.
But as she laid out her simple petition to speak to her husband, her cold outer shell quickly transformed, revealing a woman longing for the connections that have sustained her over the years. Though I had seen her many times over the last year, at that moment I could truly see her vulnerability.  I clasped her hands between mine and waited for her eyes to meet mine.
“Mrs. Whitaker, Harry is in rest. And he would want you to move on.  He wouldn’t want you to keep doing this.” I offered.
She snatched her hand away from mine. It was clear that my attempt at compassion was not received.  From scrutiny to sadness to outrage the look on her face was pretty self-explanatory. Clutching her purse, she traced her path to the front door and almost snatched it off the hinges as she left. 
It was safe to assume that I had just lost a client.