Saturday, January 14, 2012

"She's No Angel" - Chapter Four

Here's chapter four of "She's No Angel," my planned submission to the 2012 ABNA.  Comments are welcomed.




     Megan didn’t get better right away; in fact, she got considerably worse as her pregnancy progressed.  The morning sickness didn’t go away until she was four months along, but, by then, she’d started expanding around the middle and was extremely self conscious about her appearance; telling Winston that she looked like a brown duck with her short legs and large middle, as she was waddling through a shopping center one day, dragging Winston along on one of the rare occasions he’d agreed to go shopping with her.  Next to being touched, Winston hated shopping; too many people in close proximity to each other, squabbling over things on the shelves.  It was so untidy and disorganized.  He especially hated how shoppers, Megan included, peered over items, having difficulty making their minds up about what to buy.  When you went into a store, he reasoned, you should already know what you want to buy, find it, and buy it, and then leave.  Looking at and pawing over an item you had no wish to buy struck him as an awful waste of time.

     They never did try the seaweed soup Park recommended.  Granny would have none of it.

     “Child, you can’t be eatin’ some Chinee food,” she said, stamping her tiny foot.  “Lord knows what they put in it.  I hear them people eat dogs and stuff.”

     Megan nodded, looking a bit green around the gills at the mention of food.

     “Granny,” Winston said.  “It’s Chinese, not Chinee, and Mr. Park’s Korean, not Chinese.”

     “Don’t make a difference, they all look the same to me,” Granny said.  “And, they eat all kinds of strange stuff that no decent person ought to be puttin’ in their stomach.”

     “Could we talk about something else,” Megan said, and groaned.  “All this talk of food is making me queasy.”

    “You just rest easy, child,” Granny said.  “If you rub a little pig fat on your stomach it’ll ease the cramps, and it’ll keep you from gettin’ stretch marks.”

     Megan clamped her hands over her mouth, making gurgling sounds, and as fast as she could manage in her condition, got up from the couch and ran for the bathroom.  Through the closed door, Winston heard the sounds of her retching.

     “Thanks, Granny,” he said.  “You just made her sicker.  Pig fat?  You’ve got to be kidding.”

     “I definitely am not kidding,” she said.  “All the old folks down home know pig fat’s good for easing stiff muscles and it’ll make her skin soft an ‘lastic-like, for sure.  Girl’s tough, but she never been pregnant before, so she’s gonna need lots of fortifying.”

     “Yeah, but our doctor said nothing about pig fat,” Winston said.  “Frankly, I think that falls in the same category as seaweed; nothing but old wives’ tales.”

     “You don’t know nothin’ ‘bout nothin’, boy.  Them old wives’ tales kept a lot of wives alive and healthy ‘fore these high falutin’ doctors was even out of diapers.  These modern doctors don’t know everything; hell fire, they don’t know nothin’; they just use a bunch of big, fancy soundin’ words to fool innocent folk like you.  You just better listen to your old granny now if you want that baby girl to be healthy.”

     “Megan’s healthy,” he said.  “She’s just having a little trouble adjusting to all the changes taking place in her body.”

     “Wasn’t talking ‘bout her.  I mean your baby daughter, you ninny.”

     “We haven’t even had a sonogram yet, granny,” Winston said.  “What makes you think it’s a girl?  It could be a boy, you know.”

     “Ain’t no way that baby’s a boy,” Granny said.  “Ridin’ too high up for that.  Boys get down low in the womb; like they can’t wait to get out and conquer the world.  Now, girls, they’re smart early, smarter than boys.  They know they gonna get here sooner or later, so ain’t no need to rush.  That’s why they stay up high where it’s comfortable.  You just wait and see, it’s gonna be a girl.”

     “Is this another one of your old wives’ tales?” Winston asked.

      “Yeah, Winston Lee, it is,” she said, stamping her feet again.  “And, it ain’t never been wrong.  You just mark my words.  Another thing; that baby is gonna be special; a real hand full for the two of you.”

     “What old wives’ tale tells you that?”

     “No wives’ tale, boy,” she said.  “My spirit ability tells me that.  That baby’s already communicatin’ with me.  She ain’t got words yet, but even the little nubbin she is now is reachin’ out, tryin’ to get a fix on what’s outside ‘fore she comes out.”

     Winston shook his head and rolled his eyes.

     “I know you have special abilities, granny,” he said.  “But, this is a bit too much.  Now you’re telling me you can communicate with my unborn child?”

     “Didn’t say I was communicatin’ with her; said she was communicatin’ with me.  There’s a difference.  I can’t tell what she’s tryin’ to say, but she’s definitely reachin’ out.  I can’t make her understand me yet, but I reckon, fast as her brain’s developin’, won’t be long ‘fore she can understand me, and make me understand her.”

     “Great,” Winston said. “So, we’re going to have a child with ESP?”

     “Don’t know nothin’ ‘bout no ESP,” Granny said.  “But, she’s gonna be special, you mark my words.”