The Test

This was absolutely the last time she was going through this.  This morning, carefully counting the days on the calendar, she had felt the familiar panic.  35 days between cycles.  Not completely out of the ordinary, but definitely pushing the boundary, even for her.  It was still too early to worry but she couldn’t dismiss the possibility from her mind.  Another child.  That was definitely not part of the plan.

Too early or not, she had tossed a pregnancy test in her basket at the grocery store.  As she loaded the groceries on the conveyor belt, the test was too conspicuous.  Three boxes of cereal, four gallons of milk, juice boxes, snack crackers, and the other products advertising the fact that she already had a large family made her self-conscious.  What would the check-out girl think when she scanned the pregnancy test?  Irresponsible. Welfare Mom.  As the girl scanned the test, she watched her face.  Nothing.  Paranoid.

When she got home, the kids were outside helping their father with the yard work.  She lugged the groceries into the kitchen.  It was a mess.  Cereal bowls with stuck-on dried cereal littered the counter.  The empty cereal box and gallon of milk was still out on the table and there were pools of milk on three of the five place mats.  The fourth was a sprinkling of crumbs.  Her coffee cup on the fifth.  A high-chair covered in baby cereal the consistency of concrete would fit right in. She started putting away the groceries, carefully avoiding the bag with the test inside.

That done, the laundry was next.  The kids were out of socks.  Again.  She headed to the kids’ bathroom to gather the whites from the hamper.  She found about 10 socks in the hamper, the rest were on the floor among the other laundry.  She also checked the kids’ rooms and found odd socks amidst the toys and books all over the floor.  There were always odd and mismatched socks when she did the laundry.  Tiny baby socks will be even harder to keep up with.

When the whites were churning in the washing machine, she sat down to have another cup of coffee.  Enjoy it while you can.  The pregnancy test sat in front of her.  She read the instructions, as if that were necessary.  One line, no.  Two lines, yes.  She wanted to do the test while she was alone in the house.  She went into the bathroom and carried out the unpleasant procedure.  Now all she could do was wait.  And think.

She cleared the kitchen table, obsessively glancing at the clock.  I was going to go back to work in the fall.  One minute gone.  She scrubbed the cereal bowls.  My body is almost back to normal after 3 kids.  Two minutes down.  One left to go.  She stood in the middle of her kitchen, watching the hands on the wall clock tick, too quickly.  We’re financially strapped as it is.  I wanted to take a few college courses, get my degree.  I’m already overwhelmed.  The bedrooms are full.  Where will she sleep?  I gave away all the baby clothes.  I can’t do this!  Three minutes.  It was time to check.

She took a deep breath and walked into the bathroom, her future waiting for her on the side of a sink.  One line, no.  Two lines, yes.  She looked at the test.

One line.

She exhaled. She could carry oot her plans for school and work.  She didn’t have to give up coffee or her newly toned body.  She thought she’d be happy.  Elated.

She was wrong.

___________________________________________________________________________________

This post was written according to the following prompt from the red dress club:

Write a short piece – 600 words max – that begins with the words, “This was absolutely the last time” and ends with “She was wrong.”

Have fun with it. Think outside the box. Don’t go with the obvious.

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36 thoughts on “The Test

  1. So cute. I really loved it. It’s amazing how just the few hours prospect of having a baby can make one fall in love with the creature, whether it actually exist or not.

    Found you though TRDC – Red Writing Hood

  2. Wonderful writing! You did a great job with all the details, I felt your stress and was relieved in the end. Hate that caked on dried cereal in the bowls!

  3. Hi, stopping by from TRC.. I was sucked in from the beginning. The only concrit I have is that in the 3rd and 4th paragraph, I wanted to skim through it… maybe tightening that part a little … but still a great piece.

  4. Great job! I can totally relate to the panic and paranoia. I’ve bought my share of tests…just to be sure. 😉

    Thanks for linking up. I’ll have to check out that writing prompt. It may be something fun for me to do sometime.

    Happy Weekend!
    -FringeGirl

  5. Loved this piece. By the 5th and 6th paragraph, it almost feels like a thriller, “Is she? Isn’t she?” so captivating. The end is very touching.
    You have power in your words!

    • Thank you. I know so many women who have had this dilemma. The negative test is insanely disappointing. And then they come to their senses. 🙂

  6. If you wrote a book i’d be the first to buy. Absolutely LOVE your writing style. I took a stab at this prompt myself. Only mine was a little over 600 words. I didn’t see that part until it was to late. Oh well. lol.

  7. Had me from start to finish. You sure this was fiction, though? *wink*

    Excellent writing.

    At least I won’t be going through that.

    By the way – who trusts pregnancy test kits? Always those false negatives, you know! LOL

    • Good on you for spotting the inherent flaw in this! Pregnancy tests are unreliable, especially when taken too early. Oh well,

      Let’s just say it’s “based on true events” since most of the pregnancy tests I’ve taken have been positive. 🙂

  8. Oh, been there…and could totally relate! You captured her thought process perfectly. I love how she was avoiding the test by keeping busy with other things…and I could also feel her sense of sadness that it only showed one line.

    Well done!

  9. Wonderful! 🙂 Yes, I remember those days. OMG, I’m so glad my husband got the big snip. I shouldn’t say it. But, I’m so relieved (98% of the time, there’s always that 2%).

    • I got fixed when I had my last child. No more worries. Of course, I still have those illogical twinges of regret when I see or hold a newborn. I love newborn babies. I tend to forget they grow up!

    • Yay! A man responded! It is a torment and one that I normally went through alone. I preferred to spring the positive tests on the hubby. Not nice of me, but very entertaining. The last one, which was COMPLETELY unexpected, I told him about on the phone when he was at work. I wish I’d have thought to record his reaction. It was hilarious. I’m done with it now, too, and the looking back from this side of it is a lot funnier. 😉

  10. I remember the anxious and confused feelings I had while my wife and I waited the 3 minutes (about about 19 years ago). We already had two sons….it had been 6 years since we did this…OH NO! We got a positive…..now my third son and best friend in the world is grown up and about to be on his own…..OH NO! We should have had 4!

    Momfog…I never miss your posts….I actually look forward to them!

    • Thank you so much! Our last one was a surprise, too. #5! Of course, she’s the sweetest thing and is absolutely adored and spoiled by her 3 brothers and 1 sister. I can’t imagine how it will feel when they’re all gone.

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