Unexpected (Flash Fiction)

“I’m pregnant,” Susanne said.

The beer bottle slipped from Bob’s fingers and shattered on the tiled kitchen floor. She frowned a bit. She didn’t mean to, but it happened and Bob saw it and that was it. She hopped up onto the counter.

“Oh,” he said. He looked to the floor. He made no attempt to move. His toes made small wiggles in the golden lager.

Susanne looked at him for a long time, trying to guage his face, trying to read his mind, looking for any kind of sign.

He finally looked her in the eye. “How do you feel?” he asked.

“A lot of how I feel depends on how you feel.”

Bob nodded. It was a sad nod, a compliant nod. His eyes scanned the floor as if seeing the broken glass for the first time. “Are we supposed to go to the doctor or something? I mean, do you know for sure?”

“I’m pretty sure,” she said. She looked at her dangling feet. Her left pinky toe was wearing the sterling silver ring he had given her as a gift for their two month anniversary. It had the small shape of a dolphin. She suddenly felt the strong need to be in the ocean, surrounded by endless blue sea. “I took three tests. I’m late by over a week.”

Bob nodded. He stood, stuck on his shattered glass island. “Do you have insurance?” he asked.

“No,” she said, stifling a squeak. Her throat was tightening. She took a deep breath before continuing. “I only work part time. No benefits. I can’t do more than that because of my classes.”

“Yeah, me too.” He kept staring at his feet, wiggling his toes.

The clock on the oven gave the quietest tick. 8pm. Susanne still had an eight page paper to try and write. Her throat was still tight. “Well?” she asked.

Bob’s shoulders slumped. He looked defeated. He looked weak. He looked like every other spineless boy who walked the campus with a wink and a smile, one who would call you and text you day and night and say sweet little things to make you laugh and smile and buy you a stupid toe ring.

“Do you want me to make an appointment?” He cleared his throat and traced a toe through the gold ocean; it pointed towards her. “For a doctor, I mean. Not, ya know. Not the other thing.”

“You’d do that?” Water welled to the rims of her eyes. She was glad he wasn’t looking at her now.

“Well yeah,” he said, seeing her tears and smiling. “We gotta do the right thing.”

She reached for the paper towels at the corner of the counter, and they cleaned up the kitchen floor together.

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