And on the 151st Day
The nausea takes her by surprise coming so late at night. Weary but familiar with it now, she rises to put the pot to boil. Tea is the only thing that helps.
After two cups, she places the chipped cup on the crate beside her chair and slowly stands, pressing one hand to her side. Outside, frogs in the river are sending out mating calls and crickets are joining in with their own. Her sigh holds equal parts anticipation and dread.
He will arrive soon.
She tames her sleep-tangled hair without benefit of a mirror and exchanges her wrinkled shift for a simple blouse and skirt. Tired – most of the time now it seems - she sits again, biting her lip, wishing she'd inherited her grandmother's ability of second sight.
What will he say?
Missions and mutual obligations have kept them apart for five long months. After tonight, by her own choice, they will be apart much longer. The daily risk of death is no longer acceptable. She is leaving.
She sits bolt upright as a flutter of movement startles her. With a soft cry of wonder and delight, she spreads her hands over her stomach. There is another tiny kick beneath her palms and tears well in her eyes.
Life. Even in the midst of death it finds a way.
The quiet, coded knock comes and the door eases open. She stands to greet him, bursting with love. The candlelight shows the changes in her and his eyes widen. Some tiny bit of insecurity clutches at her heart, sets it to pounding. He slumps back against the closed door and stares.
And then he gives her a full smile, rushes across the room and sweeps her into his arms. She buries her face against his neck, rejoicing in the wild beat beneath her lips and his breathless words of love.
Thank you for reading.