📜 Lola's Story | Chapter 6~ Original parts 16-18 + *BONUS MATERIAL* 📜
Lola's neck still felt warm as she passed the other expectant mother's on her way to the door that led to the examination rooms.
A soft hand found her wrist, and she looked down to see the mom in the purple yoga pants looking up to her with a smile.
"Don't think twice about it," she winked. "These twins have vandalized me in ways I can't even describe!" She said with a kind laugh.
Lola smiled back and sighed. Her life had already changed irrevocably, what was this baby going to bring next?
She mechanically stood on the scale while the nurse scribbled down her weight, and she accepted the pee cup.
Only twenty-four weeks in and she was already an old hand at this.
She set her full cup on the counter, then made her way to the bed, crinkling the paper beneath her.
A soft knock sounded on the door and Dr. McCalister poked her head around the corner.
"Good afternoon, Lola!" she said in a kind voice. She made her way over to the rolling chair next to the counter then rolled to the bedside while she put on her gloves. "How have you been feeling? Is the morning sickness getting in better?"
"No," Lola responded bluntly
"Hmmm...well, there's still time for that to pass. Your weight has really improved." She said glancing at the chart. "Go ahead and lay back and we'll measure that baby."
Lola laid back obediently raising her shirt to reveal the small the bump that housed her daughter.
Dr. McCalister ran a measuring tape down the length of stomach.
"Just right," she said then jotted down the numbers on Lola's chart. "Now," she took a deep breath. "About the questions you had last time, I gathered some reading material for you to look through."
She handed Lola a few pamphlets with smiling babies and happy couples on the front.
Lola sat back up and took them with shaky hands.
"I understand why you might be considering adoption, but remember you have plenty of time to make decisions."
Lola closed her eyes tightly, tears burning her eyes. She touched her belly gently as she felt the flutters of her baby girl. She thanked Dr. McCalister, folded the pamphlets and put them in the pocket of her jeans, then left to find to the bathroom. She turned the faucet all the way on and splashed her face. The cold water felt soothing on her face. She wasn't ready to share anything with her family. The last thing she needed was to look upset in front of them.
As she came back through the door, Tommy met her eyes and smiled. He tried to mouth something at her, but Lola couldn't make it out. When she got close enough he whispered, “It happened! The lady in the purple yoga pants went into labor! Her water even broke. I did some research, and that's not as common as everyone thinks it is...and I saw it!”
“Or she just peed her pants,” Gloria mumbled with a smirk.
Lola smiled at them both.
“Everything go okay?” Gloria asked.
“Right as rain,” Lola said. “She said I've gained more weight.”
Gloria gave her a tight squeeze around the shoulders. “See? It's all looking a bit brighter everyday. I'm proud of you.” She gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and they climbed into the car and headed home.
As soon as Lola could, she ditched her tight jeans for her favorite pajama pants, tossing the jeans into pile of clothes beside her bed. She found Kyle's t-shirt under her pillow and snuggled it close to her chest as she laid down. The covers of the pamphlets with the smiling couples popped into her mind, rotating one after another in a steady loop. A fresh ache pressed into Lola's chest. She thought about Kyle. She thought about his smile, and the pain ebbed slightly. Then she thought about the last time she had seen him, laying there, in the road. Images she had been working to lock away flooded her mind. So much blood, so much blood. She set up quickly and turned on her lamp, running her hands through her hair. She needed fresh air. The window opened easily, and she breathed in the smell of flowers and sunshine. The essence of happiness. She shut the window again.
The next morning, Gloria sat at the dining room table in her pink robe, a cup of coffee on one side, a sugar bowl on the other, with a row of neatly organized pamphlets in front. She sighed deeply and rubbed her brow with her finger tips.
The tea kettle began to whistle as Lola made her way into the kitchen and picked out her mug from the shelf above the sink.
"Uh hmmm..." Gloria cleared her throat from the other room, startling Lola from her own train of thought.
"Oh, Mom, I didn't see you sitting there." Lola poured her hot water and brought it over to the table to sit down, but stopped short as she looked down at what sat in front of her mother.
"When were you going to tell me, Lola?" her mother said with hurt in her voice.
"I..." Lola began. "I don't know." she finished lamely.
"You don't know? You don't know when you were going to tell me that I wasn't going to be a grandmother anymore? You weren't going to bother to mention to me that once that baby is out, that I have no place to love it?" her voice rose higher as she stood to her feet. "You don't know, because you were only thinking about..." her voice trailed as she couldn't finish her sentence. She sat back down angrily rubbing the tears away with the sleeve of her robe.
"I found them in your pants pocket when I went to do the laundry. How long have you been thinking about...about adoption?" she cleared her throat to swallow her tears.
"Only for a few weeks..." Lola said in a small voice. "I wanted to say something...I never planned on you finding those," she motioned to the table.
"No? But I did. So what was the plan? Or should I assume there was a plan at all? It's just like when you decided to run away from home with..."
"I didn't run away," Lola said anger building.
"It felt like it. One day you're living here, the next day I find your bags packed with an airplane ticket to Texas laying on your dresser. When I finally do see you, all I get is
'Mom, Kyle asked me to go with him!' You never asked how I felt or for my advice. Then you were gone for months."
Lola sighed deeply. She had known she had caused her parents pain, she had derailed their plans for her future. Instead of attending college that fall, she had lived in Texas with Kyle on his cousin's couch while he studied to be a police officer. After his training was finished, she had been so home sick that they both came back to Illinois where he was hired on at her father's department.
Lola's breath started to quicken, and her heart pounded in her ears. She grabbed a hold of the chair in front of her and closed her eyes.
"Mom," she began. "I can't...I can't do this without him. I've tried..." she took a deep breath through her nose and exhaled.
"I've tried to be strong like Grandma Lola...I tried just like Aunt Myra wanted me to... and I can't..."
“No," Gloria said. "You can't on your own, none of us can on our own, but you have so much that you can't see," she said frustrated.
"If there's more, than you're right, I can't see it. I can't see past today. I can't see past this moment of feeling utterly helpless. You always had Dad, you don't know what this is like." she touched her belly. "I can feel her move and I can feel that she is alive! Why...why do I get to feel that?" Lola lowered her head and let her tears fall silently against the back of her hands as she gripped the chair tighter.
Lola's knuckles turned white as she squeezed the chair. Her faced burned as the truth of what she had said hung in the air.
She didn't deserve to be here, to feel the kicks and the movements of their baby. All of the joy she might have felt had been shoved so faraway, hidden in a place she wasn't sure even existed still.
One breath in, one breath out.
One breath in, one breath out.
Her heart rate still thudded in her ears, but her breathing began to level. She squeezed her eyes tighter to focus.
One breath in, one breath out.
A knock sounded on the wooden front door, disturbing her concentration. Gloria moved slowly from her stiff position, past Lola and down towards the entryway and peeked through the peephole then opened the door.
"Good afternoon, Ma'am, I'm Officer Pascal," the young man said holding a manilla envelope. "I'm here to deliver this document to Lola."
"Sure, I remember you." Gloria said, confusion in her voice.
"Oh I'm sorry, you're probably wondering why your husband didn't just bring it home.
I guess there was some urgency, and he was unable to make it. I was headed out anyway and said I dropped it off."
"Oh, well, of course. Please come in. Just give me a moment to fetch her."
Lola stood numbly for a moment having overheard the conversation, but had recognized the police officer's voice immediately. He had been Kyle's first friend on the force. She started to smooth back her hair and dry her face, as Gloria peeked around the corner eyebrows raised in question. She reluctantly nodded. All the rubbing wouldn't hide her blood red eyes.
Officer Pascal stepped into the dining room, and smiled broadly at Lola, then quickly lowered his gaze as he took in her blotchy tear-stained face.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt anything," he said looking down at his shoes. "I just needed to hand you this." he said quickly giving her the envelope."I'm not sure what is."
"It's fine, Bryon, you didn't interrupt..." Lola mumbled. She stared him, standing there tall and proud in his uniform. His belt held strong at his waist. Kyle had called it his Batman belt. He was taller than Kyle had been, and thicker chested too, with blonde hair and gray eyes.
"Oh well, if I was being honest, I also wanted to check and see how you've been."
Lola stared blankly.
"Ok...well I should be going then." Bryon said quickly.
"I'm sorry, no, please..." Lola said. "I...I just.." she struggled for the right words.
"It's the sorrow...isn't it?" Byron whispered, leaning forward his eyes barely reaching hers.
Lola coughed a dry laugh, and rubbed her forehead with her fingertips.
"I tell you what, if you could use a breath of fresh air, I can meet you for a cup of coffee in about thirty minutes?"
Lola felt her head nod slowly.
"Great, I'll see you soon." He smiled and turned to walk out the door.
Lola took a deep breath, then studied the pamphlets that still littered the table. She considered picking them up, but thought better of it. Maybe her mom should be the one to hold on to them.
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