The superbly talented (and one year older this week) Sara is hosting Friday Fiction this week over at Fiction Fusion. Even though we’re back to playing with our own characters, you won’t want to miss the great reading being offered up for your enjoyment.
My Mom has been sick the past couple of weeks, seriously enough to require a hospital stay. Many of the positive aspects of my characters I’ve derived from the good examples I’ve been blessed with in my life, and that includes the wonderful mother that God graciously entrusted me to. While Marta is not based on Mom, she does have attributes tracing back to a number of the wonderful mothers I’ve known in life, including my own. This scene, from early in “Marta’s Pod,” plays a bit with her own image as both a mother, and in a new-found role as a daughter.
A Typical Human Mother
From “Marta’s Pod”
Josh lay on his back, looking upwards towards a ceiling he couldn’t see for the darkness in the room. Marta was beside him, lying on her side with her arm draped across his chest. They were alone in the room, since Marcel had chosen to sleep in the room with his aunts and new-found uncle.
“You’re still awake,” Marta said. Her head rested on his left shoulder and she gently played the fingers of her left hand through the fine hairs on his chest.
“Yep,” he said, rubbing his hand along her back in response.
“So, what do you think?” she asked. “About my parents, I mean.”
“Well, it’s a little early to tell, but I think I certainly could have found worse mother-in-laws out there. Once the initial shock was over, they seemed to warm up to the Pod just fine. How about you? What do you think?”
“It’s almost like a dream that I’m afraid I’ll wake up from,” she replied. “I have a mother and a father, and Marcel has grandparents. I’m scared that I’ll close my eyes, and when I open them again in the morning I’ll find out this really didn’t happen.” She shifted position, extending her arm across to his other side and pulling him closer. “Yet, I feel like I just found out that I belong with a whole different Pod, and that somehow I have to choose between them.”
“Oh? Are you thinking of moving to Texas?”
“No,” she said. “I know that this is our home, and that wherever you and Marcel are is where I’m happiest. It’s just a bit confusing after all this time to consider that what we feel for our son, they might feel for me. Could you bear to leave Marcel behind and live somewhere else?”
“It’s a little different with an adult child. Parents have to understand that their children are going to grow up and live their own lives. Could I bear to leave Marcel behind now? No; he’s not old enough for that. Will I be able to when he’s a young man and ready for a University somewhere? My parents had to be ready to do that for me, and we’ll have to be ready to do that for Marcel someday.”
“No, you’ll have to leave him behind at a University. He’ll have to leave me behind here. I don’t think I’ll get to go along for the ride when he goes. It’s difficult for me to relate to something like that; all of us in the Pod are stuck here. The only time any of us will leave the others behind is when we die.”
He brought his right arm up and held her in a gentle embrace, kissing the top of her head. “Like every mother, you’re going to wonder if he’s going to be all right, and if he’s going to visit often, and if he’s happy, and so on. I don’t know if it really helps that much being able to go along for the ride. I don’t think it helped my Mom that much.”
“Are you saying that I’m being a typical human mother?”
He laughed. “Yes, you’re being a typical human mother.”
She kissed his chest. “Am I a good mother to our son?”
“You’re an incredible mother to our son.” He tightened his embrace for emphasis. “Is it just your parents being here that has you feeling so unsure of yourself, or is something else wrong?”
“How do you feel about more children, Josh?”
“Well, I would think that the fact we haven’t done anything in particular to prevent more children would say something about that. I’d be delighted if we had more kids, but I’m also not going to be bitter and disappointed if we don’t. I’m alive; that’s a miracle. I have you, and you’re a miracle. We have Marcel, and he’s a miracle. It seems to me I’d have to be extremely ungrateful to lament not getting any more miracles in my life than those.” He moved his right hand to caress her cheek, adding softly, “Though anytime you want to try for more, you know I’m more than happy to do my part.”
“You’ve already done your part,” she whispered.
“Does that mean what I think it does?” he asked, excitement threatening to raise his voice above the quiet level they’d been speaking in.
“I need to test to be sure, but I’m fairly certain I’m pregnant again. I feel so much like I did when I was pregnant with Marcel.” She shifted position so she could turn her face towards his, even though they could barely see each other in the darkness. “I’ve wanted another baby for so long, but I’ve been afraid that maybe you wouldn’t be happy with it; you’ve never said much about wanting any more children.”
It was all Josh could do to keep from yelling and disturbing the whole Pod. “Of course I’m happy about it,” he said. “The only reason I never said anything about wanting more children is that the doctor warned us that Marcel may have been that one-in-a-million chance, and we might never have any more. I didn’t want you feeling that you’d disappointed me if we never had any others.”
Over the years, an odd phenomenon had been observed and documented, occurring to many men who learned they were going to be a father. For some reason their desire for the mother of their child, whether wife or girlfriend, increased dramatically upon learning of the pregnancy. Despite wanting to share the good news with the entire Pod, Josh felt an even more immediate desire to let the Pod continue sleeping.