Conversation Between Two Women
A conversation between Sally Po and Lucretia Noin
AUish, angst, some life misfortune
Other characters mentioned
Before anyone feels compelled to r&r I just want to make clear that the subject matter discussed is not uninformed conjecture. This piece is based on my own too real experiences. And whatever muses there be compelled me to write this. Perhaps it will help someone. Also, these experiences happened long ago and far away-I'm actually quite happy. Life is what you make it.
The restaurant was small-some would even call it cozy. Sally looked around with the practiced eye of an ex-soldier. She liked the place, Noin had chosen it but Sally found the BC café atmosphere quaint, charming even.
She had arrived ten minutes early; she loathed tardiness. Perhaps that was one of the reasons she liked Chang Wufei so much: he was disciplined and mannerly now that he was a top ranking Preventer agent. Sally had nearly weaned him of his chauvinistic tendencies. He was a few years younger than she and he evidently benefited from her maturity. Plus, he was pretty damn fantastic in bed. That last thought brought a smile and a blush to her cheeks. She felt confident that they would be taking the next step soon enough. She would love to be married to Wufei. She thought that they made a fine match in all ways. Their children would be lovely. That thought led her back to Noin.
It was seven months since it happened and Sally was rather surprised when "Mrs. Peacecraft" called, asking her to lunch. They had never been particularly close although events had conspired to put them on the same side of the fence during the war. But Noin was a Preventer now; it was how she became reacquainted with Zechs Merquise ne Milliardo Peacecraft, reacquainted, courted and wed.
Before her thoughts could propel her any further Noin walked into the café entrance with a jangle from the little silver bell above the door. She spotted Sally immediately and smiled. Sally gave an answering smile in return and stood when Noin was at their table. She was about to politely extend her hand in greeting when Noin surprised her with a hug. Another one influenced by Duo Maxwell's touchy feely ways. She was so taken aback that for a moment she did not respond. Recognizing that in a few seconds Noin would be both rejected and insulted she hastily wrapped her arms around her and squeezed gently. Noin finally ended the hug and the two ladies sat.
"I guess I shocked you, hmm, Sally?" Noin was smiling softly.
"Well, yes, actually. I mean we are not particularly close so..........."
"You're wondering what all this is about?"
Sally nodded. She had in fact taken this proposed luncheon as an invitation with an agenda. "How are you feeling these days, No-I mean, Lucretia?'"
"I feel absolutely wonderful......now."
"That's great, I'm happy to hear it." Before Sally could ask what she wanted to ask a waiter arrived at their table and took their order. It amused Sally slightly to see that Lucretia had ordered oysters and salmon. "You know, Lu-it's a myth, about the oysters, I mean."
Lucretia laughed prettily. "Oh, I know. I just like seafood." Lucretia was pleased by Sally's slip, calling her by her nickname. She did not have many female friends; she hoped to count Sally among them. "Besides," she added coyly, "Milliardo needs no 'encouragement.'"
Sally colored slightly. Noin noticed. "Oh, come now, Dr. Po," she emphasized her title, "surely such a comment is not a source of embarrassment?"
"Noin," Sally replied tersely, having tired quickly of the forced intimacy, "why did you want lunch with me?"
"Okay," Noin sobered immediately, "I want to ask a favor."
"Naturally." Sally was relieved, this was more like what she had expected. Taking a sip of her drink she gestured for Lucretia to get on with it.
"I want you to perform a sonogram for me."
"Really? Oh, Noin-Lucretia, I mean, that's fantastic! Congratulations!"
Lucretia smiled broadly. "Thank you."
Sally's grin faltered slightly. "Wait, why do you want me to do a sonogram? I'm not an OBGYN."
"I realize that, Sally. You are a fine doctor and I really would like you to take over my prenatal care." Then her voice lowered and she said, sadly, "and you were there, before, when........."
"Right," Sally cut in. She knew what it cost Noin to bring the sad occurrence of her miscarriage up and she wanted to spare the petite woman the pain of rehashing it. "Well," she said thoughtfully, "if that's what you really want? What about your husband?"
"Oh," she replied smiling, "he will go along with what ever I want. Thank you, Sally."
"Everything looks really good, Lucretia. You are eleven weeks along. I'm going to give you a 'scrip for prenatal vitamins. Moderate exercise, given your fitness level is quite all right, in fact I strongly recommend it. Do you have any questions?"
"No, not really, well............what are the odds?"
"That you will miscarry? I understand your concern, but everything looks fine. I'd say the likelihood is quite slim."
"Everything looked fine last time, too."
Sally looked at her. Her expression softened. "Lu-it won't happen again."
"I want to believe that, but-I'm afraid."
"I know. A miscarriage is what happens when something is drastically wrong with the fetus-the body is clever enough to know this. But lots of women go on to have healthy and happy pregnancies, resulting in healthy, happy babies."
"I know that, Doctor." Lucretia was feeling annoyed. "I know these things-that's why the first miscarriage wasn't so hard to get over. But-when I lost the twins..........." She could not continue without becoming emotional.
Ah, yes, the twins. That was horrible. Sally had been on shift at the hospital. She had seen Lucretia on a gurney in the hall awaiting the procedure. Lucretia had called her over, comforted by a familiar face, but she had been a teary-eyed mess and quite understandably so.
Lucretia recovered her composure. "It was a fluke-a rare occurrence according to Doctor Jeffries. That twins could share the same amniotic sac, then become entangled thereby rupturing the bowel of one fetus and the other receiving dangerous blood clots. The explanation was so cold, so clinical. I cried for days. Mil and I went for a second opinion as to whether at least one of the twins could be saved. No one would tell us what to do-it was agonizing; I had to decide to terminate the pregnancy. The aftermath was just as bad. You know," she said with a humorless laugh, a month after someone from the hospital called about how my room was reserved for my impending delivery? And going through the physical changes was another painful reminder. Not to mention that for the longest time I couldn't see a set of twins without bursting into tears."
Sally grimaced in sympathy. "That must have been so hard, Lu."
"Yes. Look Sally," she said with no little embarrassment, "I'm sorry for laying all of that on you."
"No, no. It's okay. But maybe you could join a support group or something?"
Noin laughed. "I doubt I'd find a group where anyone could relate to my experience. Thanks for listening, though. I appreciate it, it helped."
"Any time, Lu, and I mean it."
Fourteen Months later
"Wow, that was the best salmon I ever had."
"I have never seen anyone as crazy about seafood as you are, Lu."
"I have to keep my energy up, you know." Noin turned sideways in her seat to check on her infant son. Sally smiled at the sight. The boy was lovely. He had weighed in at a whopping nine pounds ten ounces and was twenty one and a half inches long. He had bright, clear, blue eyes and sported his father's platinum pate. "Is he a good boy at night?"
Noin rolled her eyes. "He's already teething and I average about three hours of sleep-not all in a row mind you. I don't mind . He's worth everything I went through: the doubt, the fear, the self pitying, loss of faith in goodness. All of it. Besides, this whole thing changed me."
"I learned how precious a child could be. My grief-once it began to subside led me to self-discovery and I came upon a few helpful philosophies that helped heal me. What happened before, with the miscarriages wasn't my fault. It was bad luck. I learned that there is no cruel deity puling our strings like puppets. We make our own fates and we persevere, like we're meant to."
"That's quite an outlook turnaround."
"Yeah. Life goes on, you know?"
Sally had her own experiences she could relate with. She knew. Indeed, she knew.