The Gift (Day Eighteen)

“I came home early today,” says Alana, when Peter gets home. “I felt…sick.”

“What kind of sick?” Peter asks.

“Like I was going to vomit,” she says. “I had cramps in my stomach all morning. But then I didn’t vomit. It just passed.”

“So nothing serious?”

“Maybe not,” she replies. Then a pause. “But I’m late.”

“Late?” It takes a moment to process. “But I thought…last weekend…”

“I know,” she says. “I thought so too. I felt so moody all weekend, and I was due to get it. But then I didn’t. It just…passed. I’m nearly a week late now. I’m never usually late.”

Peter is quiet.

“I don’t want to jump the gun,” she says, “but…do you think I should see a doctor?”

“Maybe,” he says. “Maybe give it it a few more days. It might be best.”

Alana nods. “I guess,” she says. “But I’ve heard that it can be worth having the test after three or four days.”

He shrugs. “Then make an appointment,” he says. “It couldn’t hurt, I suppose.”

“It’s worth doing,” she says, studying his eyes as she speaks. “I’d like to know.”

“Of course,” he says, walking closer to her. “Of course.” He takes her hand and kisses her cheek. “Of course you would want to know.”

She smiles. “Good,” she says. “I’ll call tomorrow.”

They kiss; she smiles at Peter, calmer than she has been in days. Peter can hear his heart pounding.

“Are you happy?” she asks.

“Yes,” he says. “I’m happy.”

He makes dinner for them both and Alana rests. She goes to bed early. Peter watches television until his eyes are tired. Alana does not wake when he goes to bed.

~

When he gets home the next day, Alana is in the bathroom crying. There is a discarded tampon wrapper on the floor. He sits beside her while she cries. They say nothing. In the morning, he calls the doctor’s surgery to cancel her appointment. She phones in sick and sleeps through the morning.

End of the Third Candle. Go to the Fourth Candle.

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