Spring Before the Baby

Springtime is a season of renewal. Of rebirth. And birth itself. She can’t help thinking that as she walk down the streets of Boston, the fragrant blossoms on the trees around her drifting through the warm air.

Her season of birth will be September. That’s when the baby will be born.

She slows down a little as she approaches the crosswalk. Maybe this walk was a bad idea. She’s early in my second trimester, but her body has been hard at work creating tiny limbs and another beating heart. She’s exhausted and the workday was long. Maybe she should have gotten on the train at her usual stop instead of walking all the way down to the next station.

But the blossoms. The carefully cultivated lilac bushes outside a brownstone’s entrance and the crabapple trees in the park as she passes by. Their sweet fragrances and colorful blooms push her forward.

Next year she’ll show the baby all of this.

She doesn’t feel him kicking yet. She knows he’s in there, his movements fast, furious, and too small for her to feel. And she knows that the time is coming when she’ll feel those little limbs so clearly. When she’ll feel a kick in her side as she sits at her work computer. When she’ll excitedly slide her partner’s hand over her abdomen so that he can feel this new life as well.

That will probably happen in the spring. Even if the birth season for their own little family won’t be until these flowers are long gone, the leaves that replaced them beginning to wilt as this new life arrives. 

She can see it so clearly in her mind’s eye. She’ll be pushing the stroller, that beautiful purple one her mother has already purchased. The baby will be older by next spring, no longer a fuzzy newborn but a curious little thing with eyes that shine as they see a purple flower peeking into his stroller.

By that point I’ll be eight months into this, she realizes. Eight months into parenthood. Her body will be hers again, after sharing it for so long. She has a twinge of jealousy when she thinks of the animals giving birth right now. They got to hibernate all winter. She’s still going to work full-time and then getting on the train home.

A man nods a brusque hello to her as he steps out of her way on the sidewalk. She nods back, a hand automatically moving to her abdomen. Her swollen feet are starting to ache, even in the comfortable sneakers she switched into after her shift.

Not far now to the next stop. Her back is sore, pain radiating from the small of her back down into her legs. But the air is warm, the trees are blossoming, and there’s a dull murmur of other people chatting and enjoying their time in the sun.

Soon, baby, she promises. Soon you’ll be out here too and you can feel the sunshine on your skin. You can taste ice cream, just a little. We’ll dip your feet in the fountain and fall even more in love with you at the sight of your indignant expression.

She reaches the stairs down to the station and pauses, looking around one last time. It’s late afternoon and now there’s a slightest hint of a breeze on the air, carrying the scent of the flowers alongside the nearest building. She feels a tiny flutter inside of her. It’s too early to feel the baby kick, the rational part of her knows. Especially since this is her first pregnancy.

But that flutter is there all the same. With a small smile, hand still cupped protectively over where she knows the baby is, she starts down the stairs to her train.

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The Northern Worcester County branch of the Foundation for Paranormal Research is one of the organization’s top investigation and cleanup teams. So when a case comes in involving a century of mysterious disappearances, they figure they’ll be done before their lunch break is supposed to end. Investigators James and Amelia go to the site while their coworkers remain behind. But in seconds, Amelia vanishes in the cursed house and the others are forced to find her with no help from their bosses. Will they be able to get her back or will the house claim one final victim?

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