Short: Moments — submitted to The First Line

On November 17, 2009 by Aimee

The following story was submitted to The First Line on August 16, 2009 as part of their fiction contest. The first line was the prompt — literally as is. 🙂

Waiting for change always seems to take longer than you would expect. When it arrives? Years resemble the smallest portion of a single moment.

The months had been long. Her skin had stretched. The lithe dancer she once was adjusted to one less balanced but just as beautiful. Slim became round. Hips widened, her glide matured to a sashay.

Together we waited. Patience turned thin as the day grew nearer yet continued to remain outside our grasp. Were we duped into the experience?

A hand to her side indicated small aches coursed through her mid section. A stitch, she called it. Nothing more. When it remained, pressed further into her side, time slowed.

I noticed both a shimmer in the light cotton she wore as well as the concentrated focus she aimed my way. She closed her eyes and in measured increments blew out a small breath.

Outward evidence that the pains had become significant showed with her uncharacteristic scowl. She lovingly stroked the wall of muscle as it tensed and relaxed.

Our wait would finally come to an end. Though my part had been a small one, it would take on an even greater significance soon.

With one hand in mine she lowered onto the edge. Her hair fell as she leaned forward, hands supported atop her knees, no longer able to close completely. I could only watch as she drew in air and let it out again. Once. Twice. Three times.

Her wince added to my heartache. Spasms racked her liberally, left no fiber of her torso untouched. So much more than simply a vessel. Her adoration of her swollen feature brought strength and courage.

Soon. It would be so soon. Excitement warred with nerves.

She lay back, comfortably, clothed only in the provided drape which fell awkwardly across the mound which protruded upward. Hair mussed, lines ran from above, draped across her shoulder and landed atop her wrist.

A single light blinked continuously in tune with an unseen heartbeat. Another with the heart I shared.

Seconds stretched to minutes, then to hours as she let nature guide her. I’d begun to wonder if we’d remain in a state of continuity, never to reach the ultimate goal, when life finally broke free.


Arm in arm, we walked. At the aisle’s end, I stood between the two of them, not ready to let go despite the crowd that stood behind us.

“Who gives this woman to this man?” My prompt. I struggled to find the words that had been prepared for me. My throat dry, tears threatened.

A quick turn to my left and her brown eyes reflected my own. The smile that reached from one ear to the other, so young and vibrant, forced my own to appear.

“Her mother and I.” I managed in barely a whisper.

The white lace weighed heavily in the palm of my hand as I gently lifted and laid it over the crown of pearls strategically placed within her curls. The tears I’d promised to keep hidden escaped.

“Thanks, Daddy.” She whispered into my ear as I added a quick kiss upon her cheek. With an audible intake of breath I took a step back and watched as the man she’d soon call her husband took the hand I’d held for so many years.

As I sat back to watch the event unfold, my wife pressed her shoulder into mine, laid her cheek against my arm.

“Remember that day?”

I turned toward her, locked eyes and nodded.

“Like it was yesterday.”