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The Beauty of Snow

 



The Beauty of Snow

 

She woke up to a fresh morning snow. She didn’t have to think about work; the hospital laid off thousands due to the financial restraint caused by the pandemic and she was one of them. Cindy was a pediatrics nurse. She liked children particularly since she couldn’t have her own. She suffered complications in her youth that meant she couldn’t carry full term and experienced miscarriages. She and her husband Blake opted for a surrogate since her eggs were perfect and that’s how they met Tina. Tina was a thirty year old stay-at-home mom who went back to work briefly in advertising but missed the domestic life she had for the eight years she was raising babies. Tina decided to answer a prayer for the couple who were featured in her local paper.

The column shone Cindy and Blake who were both nearing forty and wanted their first child; Tina wanted to stay home again but her divorce from her husband a year prior meant she needed to work. She read that Cindy and Blake wanted a child from a healthy surrogate and all expenses would be paid. Tina was looking at an opportunity to be home and provide for her three children as a new single mom and give Cindy the baby she dreamed about. Cindy met Tina at the local diner where they would convene over a simple breakfast and chat about the possibility of having a child together; Tina liked Cindy’s sense of humor and said she would love to have a baby together because not all women were as gentle and soft spoken as she was. Tina thought Cindy looked only half her age and that she herself looked a few years younger. Cindy thought they could be sisters; Cindy chatted about having a wonderful childhood and being brought up as the only child; her mother never again became pregnant and had Cindy in her later years at age forty-three. Tina came from a large family and was one of five children but her mother had unfortunate experiences with relationships and consequently raised them on her own despite the children having different fathers. The fact that Tina’s siblings had three different fathers among them did not startle Cindy; she knew how hard life could be. Her first marriage to a talented chef ended in divorce when they grew apart despite having been married five years.

Cindy’s marriage to Blake saw its seventh year when she met Tina and Tina explained that her own marriage lasted nine years, just three months shy of a decade, and Cindy was curious about what happened between them without prying too far.

“Do you mind if I ask what happened?” Cindy said softly.

“He was gone a lot. A popular surgeon… he was talented and I never went beyond a Master’s degree.  He thought I should have gone on to a PhD and done more than I had such as setting up my own business.”

“Instead you stayed home?”

“I did. Then we divorced and I went back to work.”

Tina loved advertising. She was creative. She wrote advertising pieces for television and radio. She also worked freelance as a creative and designed websites; in her field she was jack-of-all trades. She wrote music too and pitched to agents of celebrities. She was good at her job and Cindy learned she was a good mother too. During the pandemic she did some homeschooling and when it was safe for them to return to school she was the one to be sure they got to the bus on time. Her three children attended an independent school as Tina liked the idea of smaller classrooms and more individualized attention.

Cindy liked Tina greatly and felt very happy to have met her.They exchanged numbers and began texting one another just to know how each other’s day was going. Cindy talked of Tina to Blake and the two of them wanted to meet her together; they set up another date and Tina wanted to bring her three children Zack, Arty and Mason. Her three children learned a lesson on empathy; their mother was going to grow a baby in her tummy to help a lady who couldn’t have a baby in her own tummy. The procedure was planned and they expected a birth just before Christmas. It was February and the baby was due in November. With the time that ticked away the baby began to grow. The pregnancy was doing well but Tina had some news for Cindy and Blake; she was offered a job she could not refuse as it would pay for the laboratory school she dreamed of sending her children to since it was a college preparatory school. Cindy was broken that Tina would no longer be close to them while living in Vermont but would be going to Washington DC. She would be hours away. Tina moved as planned and continued to chat with Cindy online and sent photos of the pregnancy and sent text messages daily. Tina felt the complications that came with pregnancy like the heartburn and the exhaustion. She then began to feel the sharp pains that came with being in labor too. Tina went to the hospital and had to deliver the news to Cindy and Blake. Cindy learned that she carried a gene that was an abnormality for a developing baby; Tina’s body miscarried the child after six months of pregnancy.

“The body did what was natural because it sensed the complication.” Tina told Cindy who was heartbroken. She grew in depression in the weeks that ensued but she was surprised when the hospital administration contacted her and asked if she would return to work. Cindy loved the children she cared for and she decided to continue her work there. She took her thoughts of the baby girl she buried near home with her little tombstone in the ground: Avery Jean Bennet born and died August 11th 2020. Her little fingers were long and cold when Cindy touched them. At work she cried when Timmy asked her what was wrong.

“Are you okay?” His little voice said.

“I’m sorry Timmy,” Cindy said with a congested voice after working with Timmy for the past six weeks.

Timmy was in a car accident after he left the foster home with the foster mom’s sixteen year old daughter. Timmy told Cindy how he changed foster homes often and how he never knew his birth parents.

“I miss my baby.” She said.

“I wish she could be with you.”

Timmy was a bright young man who was witty beyond his years.

His first three weeks in the hospital was spent in a coma after he suffered bleeding of the brain; Timmy had brain surgery and was recuperating. He lost most motor skills and was still learning some through speech therapy. He was still supported with oxygen through his nose. Cindy wheeled him throughout the hospital while he was in physical therapy. Their relationship grew. Timmy didn’t have many visitors. He hadn’t made many friends after changing schools sometimes every six months. As they were nearing October Timmy told Cindy it was his favorite holiday; Cindy made him a costume that was his favorite character from the comic books he read at the hospital. Timmy got candy from the staff and was happy to be there. He hadn’t experienced the love he felt from Cindy and she doted on him.

Timmy sat upright in bed on the morning of Christmas Day as Cindy brought hot chocolate from the break room.

“It’s the first snow of the season.” He said.

Cindy gathered with him at the window where there was a foot of snow and the flurries were still falling.

“I won’t be getting off work today.” She told him.

“It’s all right. It’s a white Christmas.” Timmy smiled.

“It is Timmy.” She said.

Timmy saw the look on her face.

“Are you going to be okay?” He asked.

She looked toward the twilight.

“I just wish for a child Timmy.”

“I wished last night for a mom.” He whispered.

“I’m glad to be here with you Timmy.”

“Mrs. Cindy,” he asked casually, “do you think…”

“Yes I do Timmy.”

She hugged him and he hugged her back. He cried into her shoulder and she cried facing the horizon of indigo and violet; the morning dawn was beautiful.

“It’s the season to be happy,” he looked her in the eyes.

“Yes it is.” She responded.

“Tis the season,” his door was decorated for Christmas.

“We’ve got a son.” Cindy rolled over in bed with the first look of a New Year day as a mother.

“Happy New Year buddy,” Blake said when he entered the bedroom.

“Happy New Year dad.” Timmy was awakened by the creek of the door.

And they smiled because they had become family in a way they had never known.

 

 

Candace Meredith

 

Candace Meredith earned her Bachelor of Science degree in English Creative Writing from Frostburg State University in the spring of 2008. Her works of poetry, photography and fiction have appeared in literary journals Bittersweet, The Backbone Mountain Review, The Broadkill Review, In God’s Hands/ Writers of Grace, A Flash of Dark, Greensilk Journal, Saltfront, Mojave River Press and Review, Scryptic Magazine, Unlikely Stories Mark V, The Sirens Call Magazine, The Great Void, Foreign Literary Magazine, Lion and Lilac Magazine, Snow Leopard Publishing, BAM Writes  and various others. Candace currently resides in Virginia with her two sons and her daughter, her fiancĂ© and their three dogs and six cats. She has earned her Master of Science degree in Integrated Marketing and Communications (IMC) from West Virginia University.

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2 Comments

  1. the grandeur of nature is vastly underappreciated. excellent work.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Okay, I'll admit it. I was bawling. Such a beautiful story.

    ReplyDelete