Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Christmas Carols/Carolling (10/02/08)
TITLE: The Arrival
By Craig Lankford
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This whole pregnancy thing. It really was her idea. Of course I want kids . . . . someday. It would be great to have a boy to do guy stuff with and all that, but I wanted to wait a little while longer. You know, get really established in my career – her career too! We had only been married and in our fields a couple of years when she surprised me one afternoon with the news. I was shocked. Pregnancies should last a lot longer just so the guy can have a chance to get used to the idea. I didn't even get the whole nine and a half months. Jenny was already more than three months pregnant when she found out. And the kid wants to pop out early too!?!
I told my secretary, Beth, er, the office receptionist since she is all the guys' secretary too, to hold all my calls this evening. We called in pizzas and Red Bull sodas just so we could keep driving on through until late tonight. Jenny had first called around mid-day but I didn't have time to talk, and Beth took a message. I was sure Jenny was calling to remind me of the Christmas Eve service she wanted to go to tonight. Church! Yes, I go with her when I can – you know, to be a good, supportive husband. Some guys from that church keep calling me, wanting me to join some “men's fellowship.” Really, I'm busy.
Jenny called a few hours later and I told Beth to let her know I would call her soon. My team was making great progress. Several hours and a few phone calls later Beth whacked me on the head with a pile of paperwork. At least it was the pile we had already gone through. Beth said if I didn't get on the phone with my wife this time, she would strangle me with the phone cord. Jenny was at the hospital and the labor wouldn't stop. She needed me there. How could this kid come a month and a half early? I'm not even used to the idea of Jenny being pregnant, much less fatherhood. Before I knew it, Beth pushed me out the door and halfway to my car. So I headed for the freeway, and the hospital. I'm gonna name the kid “Eve,” after the woman who brought Man down. I still can't believe this.
There was a nurse waiting at the Emergency Room door for me. I wasn't expecting that. She told me there were problems, complications. She charged down the hallway like the bulls of Pamplona were hot on her heels. I followed as quickly as I could. I awkwardly struggled into the gown and cap they threw at me. I squirmed between two nurses to hold Jenny's hand. Jenny was a bit out of it but she recognized me. The next ten or fifteen minutes were a blur, then the doctor held up what looked like a little red monkey.
A nurse cleaned the little monkey, then weighed her. When the nurse turned around, I got my first real look . . . . . at my daughter . . . . my . . . little girl. She seemed so tiny . . . and fragile. I couldn't take my eyes off her. The nurse placed her gently on Jenny's chest. When I reached my hand out, my baby girl grabbed my finger. Jenny looked up with a tired face and asked what we should name her.
“Carol,” I whispered.
“Yes,” Jenny smiled softly, “our Christmas Carol.”
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