It’s a difficult decision to buy a book online. All you have to go by is the tiny blurb beside the book cover and that’s not much. So I’m sharing the entire first chapter with you. That way you get to meet Jessica and Chris and hopefully grow to love them as much as I do.
Chris was, once again, perched on the porch railing. I’d told him the railing was unsafe, the damn thing was held in place with nothing more than a handful of rusty screws and a whole lot of hope. The landlord had warned him against it too. But Chris had the attitude that nothing bad could ever happen to him and, well, so far nothing had.
He jumped down as soon as he saw me and the railing swayed wildly behind him.
“This is for you,” he blurted as I walked up the path then he handed me the bag he’d been holding. I took a peek inside. A pregnancy test? I tossed it back like he’d lobbed me a live grenade.
“Chris!” I exclaimed, “Why did you get me this?”
“You’ve been queasy all week. You’ve thrown up twice this morning alone and your period is late. Why wouldn’t I get one?”
“I can’t be pregnant!” I replied, ruthlessly ignoring the voice in the back of my head whispering ‘that would explain a lot’.
“The only way we’ll know for sure is if you take the test,” he said then pressed the bag back into my hands. As tempting as it was to push it back, he was right. I sighed then quietly headed upstairs.
I could hear our roommates, Ann and John, laughing and talking in the backyard so at least we had the place to ourselves. Luckily Ann had been cleaning so I could no longer smell the liver she’d fried that morning. Unluckily Ann had been cleaning so all I could smell was powdered cleanser (only 79 cents a can at Bargoon Land, Jessica) and her heavy duty, catch-in-your-throat industrial floor cleaner. I tried to breathe shallowly.
“I’ll, umm, wait out here while you take the test,” Chris said awkwardly. He leaned against the wall and stared out the hall window, even though it overlooked nothing but our neighbour’s roof and the sapling collection currently growing in their eaves.
It felt weird not locking the bathroom door but Chris was right there and it wasn’t like he’d let John or Ann waltz in. I slid the test onto the counter then fished the instructions out of the box. It looked easy enough but I still read them three times. I was about to read them a fourth time then admitted to myself I was just stalling. I could have written them by that point. Besides I really had to pee.
“No time like the present,” I muttered then followed the instructions.
I refused to look at the test until I had thoroughly washed and dried my hands. Finally I picked it up and looked at what I already knew was there, two distinct lines in the window. A tear landed on the test, then another. I couldn’t hold them back.
The bathroom door opened a crack and Chris slipped inside. He picked up the test gently and stared at it in amazement. His expression said it was Christmas and Santa just showed up with a Porsche. Then he looked at my tears and his smile dimmed.
“You don’t want the baby?” he asked forlornly.
I rubbed the backs of my hands across my eyes before replying. “It’s not that,” I protested. “What are we going to do with a baby? What sort of life can we give it?”
“Could you imagine bathing a baby in here?” I gestured around the bathroom at the chipped paint, the grime streaked windows, Ann’s hairy razor, and the cracks winding their way across the entire length of the wall.
“I want a baby with you, but I want our baby to have a real home and a future.”
Chris clasped both my hands in his and stared down at me. I looked at the friendly, goofball kid I joked around with all through high school and saw the man he was becoming.
“We won’t live here forever,” Chris solemnly assured me. “We’ll make a better life for us and our baby. Things will turn out; I promise.”
I stared into his eyes and believed him.
If you want to read more, you can find Small Dreams here: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/small-dreams