When you were little you used to live near the edge of an eroding sand cliff parallel to the beach below. You would always stand on the edge, daring time to fast forward in limbo, the ground falling out from beneath your feet.

You watch the silent raindrops fall on the cold sheet of metal, possibly aluminum. They painfully mirror your feelings of dripping despair. You open your car door and cannot help feel mechanical. Like your arm will not detach itself from the door handle, like your whole body should turn into the windshield and your arms should flap around wildly trying to wipe away the syrupy coat of rain so the poor soul driving you (as the car) can at least see where she is going.

But you are the driver. You do detach yourself from the vehicle and walk slowly up to the trailer, the trailer where he lives. A month ago you could not let each other go, not even for a second. But now he doesn't care. He breathed ice that night when he told you to go back home to your husband, go back like a dog. To avoid choking on your own tongue while trying to change his mind, you slunk back to your house, woke your husband with your nakedness. You didn't sleep at all that night or the following month.

In the nearest convenience store you found that your eagerness to know the unknown was almost too much to breathe, the weight of it pressed down onto your ribcage, making day to day activities seem even more redundant and fuzzy. Your excitement standing in line was too great you hardly noticed the dullness of the stale cement tiles you stood on. It was too big to be annoyed by the sour look the conservative old lady with yellow eyes gave you while she checked your miracle test. It was almost too big to fit through the bathroom door. You crouched down and hunched your shoulders to hide your face from the chic young ladies standing at the sink.

The test was positive. It was a miracle.

Now here you stand at the trailer door ready to let him hear the precious news that now you had to be together for the sake of the child. You would bet your life that it was his, it had to be, and you couldn't throw the dice on any other number. You think back to the night you went to your husband in a desperate grief. Knowing you had one last chance to make things right you thrashed around wildly, praying that if it did happen the baby would get your brown hair to match his and not your husband's rusty blonde.

Muttering a note of prayer for brown hair you place your right foot onto the steps leading up to the crusted blue door, you wish the stairs would erode out from beneath you. You knock.

He answers, chewing something but swallowing once seeing that it is you. He puts down a rag that was in his hands then rubs them together until the dirt that was caked on his knuckles slowly floats down onto the linoleum.

"I told you to go home. I didn't mean come back."

You shift your pale t-shirt, slightly baggy to simulate the need to hide a large bump, though you are not even showing yet.

"I need to talk to you; it's something that can't wait."

"What?" He looks out onto the yard and traces the limbs on the old oak out by the broken-down Chevy. The limbs coiled together, tossed carelessly amongst themselves like the thick ropes on his old fishing ship back in Alaska.

You shift slightly harder.

"What do you want?" he said.

"It's important that I come in."

"It's important you get up on out of here. We can't keep doing this." He traces the handle on the door, horizontally down, vertically left, horizontally down. "You have an obligation to your husband." He glances towards the entrance to the driveway. "I'm not him."

"I have a new obligation now."

"To who?"

"To someone very special, someone that will never let us down."

You try not to glance down, to giveaway your secret, your leverage that could keep you standing in front of him for days. You see the two of you together frozen in time, frozen in the limbs of the oak tree, sailing amongst the rain that never stops falling on your windshield. He takes a step down from the doorway. His shoes point towards you and towards the side of the trailer that could not be seen by someone on the steps outside. Something rang inside, twice, and then hung up.

"I need to get that. Hurry"

"Do you need me to come back another time? I can come back tomorrow, maybe later today?"

It was already late; the sun was sinking down around the aluminum roof making it glow like platinum. It cast a jagged shadow across the lawn that cut the cadence running from the trailer to the old Chevy. He still didn't say anything.

"When you going to fix that old truck up? We could take it out for rides on the back roads like we used to, remember?"


"You going to fix it?"


It was a shame to you. You loved sitting in the backseat. Each bump in the road worse than the last because the seat coverings were loose and they slide down with each hit. You loved it.

The ringing started again inside; it didn't hang up this time.

"I got to get that." He turned quickly, diligently, but paused for formality's sake. "See you around."

"Ok. I'll be back. I'll come back tomorrow."

He had shut the door quicker than you wanted but you are positive that he will open it for you when you came again tomorrow. That's how you will be able to sleep soundly tonight, your hand resting gently on your stomach, your mind resting gently in a thick fog that is positive.


Hannah Thompson-Garner