The sun and I yawn, the time of day when light spreads like a pesticide. Leaves you drowsy in the poppies like Dorothy, limp as a noodle. I’m lounging on the couch, sponging rays from the tall windows. Mom is rumbling around the kitchen, clanking pots and pans. She turns, eyes me up narrowly.
“You shouldn’t sit like that. Bad for the circulation.” Circulation.
“Don’t you mean for the baby?” She’s always picking at me, thinks I don’t know what’s best for myself, for my baby.
“Well, everything’s for that now. Isn’t it?” I frown. She’s right, moms always are. Soon enough I’ll be right, too.
“Did you take your vitamins today?” she asks.
“Of course I did. Did you think I’d forget?”
“I’m just trying to help, you know. You don’t have to snap at me.” The dish, fragile in her hands, is clean but she scrubs harder anyway. I roll my eyes, blindly leaf through the tabloid I stole from the hairdresser.
“If you’d been more careful, I wouldn’t have to nag.”
“I heard that.”
“Good, I’m glad,” she says. Maybe an abortion would’ve been better. But I couldn’t handle the shame. Mom doesn’t believe in abortion, anyway. Life is God’s little miracle, she’d say, who are we to take that away?
“You should’ve been more careful, too.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” she asks.
“Then you wouldn’t have me. This whole mess could’ve been avoided.” A bowl slips from her fingers, clatters into the sink.
“Jesus Christ, Tessa.”
“You shouldn’t say Jesus’s name in vain.” She perks up, grabs the bowl as if to throw it my way. Remembers I’m expecting and lowers it, defeated.
“God forbid you ever go through this with your little girl,” she says. I roll off my back and resign to sitting straight.
Rita Redd is an emerging writer from Las Vegas, Nevada, currently transplanted in evergreen Ashland, Oregon. She studies creative writing there at Southern Oregon University. She enjoys lazy days in the park and reading copiously.