The hot water pours down my back, steam surrounding me. “Babe. There’s something I need to tell you,” I say through the fog.
I turn my head toward the bedroom, his outline is faint through the dingy hotel shower curtain.
“Okay,” he slowly replies.
“Nevermind,” I say. Butterflies feel like they are going to jump out of my throat.
I hear the bed creak as he sits up, followed by the sound of him placing his phone on the nightstand.
“You can’t start something like that and not finish,” he says.
“Well, I’m not sure if it’s true, so I don’t know if I should tell you,” I reply.
“Just tell me.”
I pause, wishing the water pressure matched the pounding of my heart. I let the water continue to run down my back, shifting from one foot to the other.
“Stacy. You’re making me nervous. What is it?” his voice rising.
I take a deep breath.
“I might be pregnant,” I breathe out.
The silence that fills the room is deafening.
“I haven’t taken a test yet, but I’m a few days late . . .” I say.
I shut the shower off, then move the curtain to the side—the curtain rings rattling overhead. Despite the clanging from the bathroom fan, it’s clearly not working—my shape is barely visible in the mirror above the sink. After grabbing a crisp white towel from the rack, I begin to dry myself. I reach up and wipe the condensation from the mirror, taking a look at myself for the first time since I’ve said the words I’ve been carrying out loud.
Tightening the towel around my chest, I walk to my suitcase perched on the table by the floor to ceiling windows. I begin to get dressed and look down the 20 floors to the busy street below. My mind flashes back to the last eight months of negative pregnancy tests, coupled with my knee surgery that forced us to postpone trying for three months. The past two months I didn’t even bother with the ovulation sticks. Despite them saying I was ovulating for the last year—the negative pregnancy tests outweighed their positives.
He leans his head against the headboard. “Should we go and get a pregnancy test?”
“I’m sure there’s a store around here somewhere,” I say, grabbing my phone from the table. “Looks like there’s a Target a few blocks down the street.”
We chat for a few minutes, a mixture of excitement and nerves fill the hotel room. I picture our two kids at home on the farm with their grandparents, feeling like it’s too soon to get excited about a baby. But then picturing a baby with two older kids sends me into a slight panic.
I collapse onto the bed. “I don’t know if I can handle three kids,” I exhale. “I thought I wanted another baby, but now I feel like we waited too long.”
I pause, running my hand across the maroon bedspread. “We can actually travel and leave the kids for a few days.”
He nods his head. “Well, we don’t know anything yet.”
After I’ve dressed and blow-dried my hair, I grab my purse and room key and we head to the elevator. We silently ride down the 20 floors and walk through the lobby. The sounds and smells of Chicago hit me as soon as the revolving door opens. The shock of concrete, people clogging the sidewalk, and traffic is such a contrast to our life at home, it makes me pause. Outside our front door on the farm I’m surrounded by dirt roads, wheat fields, and cattle. For a moment, I’m able to forget about the tiny being that might or might not be growing inside of me.
We step onto the sidewalk, making sure to stay out of the way of the other pedestrians. I look down at the street, still wet from last night’s downpour. Then I squint my eyes from the sun and glance up at the tall buildings around me.
“Which way?” he asks, grabbing my hand.
I squeeze his hand with more confidence than I actually feel.
I nod to the left, “This way.”
**This essay was written as part of the workshop, “Reading Well, Writing Well.” The assignment was to focus on writing dialogue.**