The end of the day
January 29 prompt, “A Writer’s Book of Days”
About 10 seconds to get it together. Jump out of business attire — good riddance gray pencil skirt, button-up white blouse, matching gray blazer, hosiery and heels. Heaped on the bed, not even hung up. No time.
Slings herself into her real clothes. Baggy blue sweatpants, faded red T-shirt from a 1978 Van Halen concert and Adidas.
Hurry hurry! Veronica pushes herself. Quickly checks her phone. 6:58. I’m gonnna be laaaaaate! I’m gonna be laaaaate! I can’t be late! I’m gonnna be late!
Dashes out, handbag draped on arm. Slams the door. SHIT! Her car keys! Her phone! Visible through the window right where she’d left ’em! On the table!
Now what?! No hidden key. Landlord’s office closed.
Oh shit! Veronica’s shoulders slump. She’s late for the natural birthing class now! The second to the last class too. Can’t miss this one! It’s her lesbian friend Molly who’s due next month. Veronica’s her birthing coach and sidekick.
Shit! Like a kid at a candy store window, she gazes yearningly at the phone lying there so innocently, nakedly and seductively under the bright kitchen light.
She’s gonna be panicking. She’s gonna kill me! Molly’s already in Freak City with the baby due in a month! Less than a month! Weeks! She’s got practically no one! I’m it. Wondering where I am. Calling …”
Phone rings. “… about now.”
Defeated, back sliding down the building’s side and seating herself on the soil, Veronica tells herself: Plan B. Plan B. Need a plan B.
It’s a ways away but maybe I can still make it if I run. Jumps up and takes off sprinting the 6 blocks into downtown. Thank god I’m in Adidas instead of those hideous heels! Thank god for small favors!
Hand and wrist twisting high in the air. Where are the freakin’ cabs when ya need one?!?
Up and down main street she gallops, holding tight to her handbag. Just what I don’t need, to lose that on top of everything else gone wrong!
Rounds a corner. Spots a light on top of a cab. A block and a half away and heading west like her. At a stop sign. Fortunately a low-speed street.
Can I make it?! Can I make it?! The question of the night. Deep breath. She bolts. Faster than she’s ever bolted since high school track class! Like 12 years ago!
Run legs run! Run! Eyes riveted on the taxi. Closer closer. Legs and arms pumping and still grasping tight the handbag!
YES!!!! Veronica breathlessly pounds on the passenger side window. Startling the driver out of his seat but he lets her in anyhow.
To the hospital! Hurry! Hurry!
Right away, ma’am. Click. Meter on. Wheels turning. THANK GOD!
Traffic flowing, thank GOD! They hit every green light. Thank GOD! I’m late but I’ll get there! Veronica hops out, throws a $20 bill for a ride costing $7.
Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! she pushes. And praise these Adidas! A week old and they’ve already paid for themselves, a costly $100 and way more than Veronica would normally spend on any shoes. She was sick of paying for low-quality Payless. Her track shoes were more than a treat, they symbolized her learning to take better care of herself, learning to regard herself with greater worth than she’d experienced in childhood.
Hurry! Hurry! I’m late! I’m late! I’m coming, Molly! I’m coming! Almost there! Racing thoughts and frantic pacing at the elevator. Pushing the button over and over. Like that’s gonna make it come faster!
Poor Molly, all alone in birthing class. No partner to work with. Three weeks from baby. She needs me there! I need to be there! I can’t coach without tonight’s class! I’m clueless! As clueless as Molly! Not like I’ve ever helped deliver a baby before!
Leaps into elevator. Molasses rise to the 5th floor. Hurry! Hurry! A year passes before doors open. Veronica rushes down the hallway. Past the nurses’ station. Past the snack machines. Past the natural birthing center. Rounds the corner. I’m coming Molly! Hold on! I’m coming! Okay, I’m here! I’m here! Two more seconds!
Throws herself into room 514, gasping.
A circle of 8 pregnant women and their partners, all men except for one gal as coach for her sibling, on mats on the floor practicing. Welcome, Veronica, smiles the teacher, calmly, peacefully. A natural birthing teacher.
I’m soooooo sorry I’m late! So sorry! Veronica hurriedly looks around. Where’s my friend? Where’s Molly!
You just missed her. Now, breeeeeeeattttttttheeeee. Deeeeeeep breath in, she guides the class in soothing voice.
Missed her?! Whaddya mean missed her?!
She went into labor about 30 minutes ago. She’s down in the delivery room. Now, exxxxxxxxxxxhaaaalllle, sloooooowly …
Veronica glances down at her Adidas. All right, shoes, here we go. Off they sprint to the delivery center and waiting room, where Veronica’s forced to remain. Because hospital staff are already tending to labor in progress.
Finally Veronica’s allowed to see her friend, new babe cradled in her arms. Such a beautiful sight! Tears, hugs, apologies, stories of Molly’s birthing experience and Veronica’s lockout and hurry to get to the hospital exchanged. Molly laughs through her exhaustion the whole tale through.
And what are you gonna name your gorgeous godsend little boy?
Without speaking, Molly gazes at her sweet baby’s face and looks up at her best friend.
And that’s how, at the end of the day, a baby boy came to be known as Adidas.