This is a story I wrote for Courtney Reese‘s “Love at First Sight” blogfest, which is, of course, being held in honor of Valentine’s Day. Since it is now 12:30 AM, I feel I can go ahead and post my contribution. Hope you enjoy!
Birth and Rebirth
“Dude. You’re gonna have to, like, change diapers.”
“I know,” he said with a snort. “Maybe I’ll just make Becca do it all the time. Or like, I could conveniently be in the middle of something every time there’s poop in the vicinity. You know? Like washing dishes or something.”
His friend raised an eyebrow. “You wash dishes?”
“No,” he said quickly. “But if it means avoiding baby poop, I could start.”
They both gave a hearty chuckle, each competing with the other to see who could laugh louder. A sudden burst of rock music erupted from the man’s iPhone. He snatched it off the bar, stared at the Caller I.D. for a long moment, then punched a button and held it up to his ear.
“Yeah?” he barked. “Now? Jeez. Yeah, okay, I’ll be there as soon as I finish my beer.” He hung up and slung the rest of his Miller Lite down his throat.
“That her?” his friend asked in a flat tone that clearly implied, So, your life is over now?
“Yeah, dude. I guess I gotta go. Her mom’ll be pissed if I’m not there when the little sucker takes her first breath.”
“Alright, man. See ya on the flip side.” They performed a complicated handshake and smacked each other on the back with more force than necessary.
Twenty minutes later, he pulled into the hospital parking lot. Walked, robot-like, through the hospital doors. Managed to croak his wife’s name to the attendant at the desk.
When he pushed through the door of room 209, he could hardly breathe.
There she was. His wife. Her dark hair spilled over her shoulders as she gripped her mother’s hand and gritted her teeth. Someone strapped a mask over his face and forced him into a pair of scrubs.
One hour passed.
And then she appeared.
As his tiny daughter squalled in fury, writhing and flailing in his hands, he felt his heart disintegrate and reform into something new. Something brave and terrified at the same time. It was the most magnificent feeling in the world, and yet he teetered on the brink of tears.
“John?” she said, watching his face. “Are you alright?”
He blinked at her, noticing her for the first time in five years. He kissed her, then kissed his daughter, who responded by smacking him in the face with her quarter-sized fist. John and his wife laughed, then turned to each other, smiling.
At that moment, two things happened simultaneously: The love John had once felt for his wife tilted its head up to the sun, drinking in the unexpected rays of light and gathering strength it hadn’t known existed.
And a brand new love sprouted for this five-pound bundle of pink, startled baby girl.
It was love at millionth sight, and love at first sight, all at once.