Friday, March 18, 2011

Red Dress Club: Detour

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Breathe in.

“Rachel!” Dr. Smith breezed into the room, interrupting her thoughts. She usually enjoyed his upbeat nature, but today Rachel wanted nothing more than to smack the smile off his face.

She’d spent hours offering up her vital fluids, her anxiety ratcheting up until she thought she’d explode. Her phone buzzed with incoming emails, text messages, and missed calls, further aggravating her migraine. Her face felt warm and she was certain her blood pressure had risen 100 points in the last fifteen minutes. The phone buzzed again.

“Do you need to get that?” Dr. Smith asked cheerfully.

“No,” she said sharply.

“I’ll get right down to it then!” he chirped. Rachel leaned forward, her manicured fingernails threatening to punch through the blue vinyl on the table.

“Good news, Rachel. No cancer!”

She blew out a breath of air and relaxed. No cancer. She was fine! Or was she? She frowned.

“Then what is it?” she asked.

He grinned. “You’re pregnant!”

“Wait, what? You mean, I’m going to have a baby?” She grabbed his arm, eyes narrowing. “Are you sure?”

Dr. Smith’s face softened. “I know this is unexpected,” he said gently.

“I can’t be pregnant! How did this happen?” she exclaimed, her voice rising.

He shifted awkwardly. “Uh, well—“

“I know how the reproductive cycle works, Doc,” she snapped. “I meant, how could this happen to ME?” She stared at her hands.

“It could be worse,” he reminded her. “I’ll have the front desk pull a list of doctors for you in case—,” he paused, searching for the right words. “In case you wish to go a different route.” He exited the room.

A baby. This didn’t make sense, she thought.  She couldn’t be a mother.  She didn’t have a maternal bone in her body.  She never babysat.  She wasn’t married.  She didn’t even have a boyfriend!

She felt disoriented as she donned her carefully folded Armani suit.  Her designer wardrobe!  The six figure salary!   She wanted to run back to her corner office as fast as her Jimmy Choo’s would take her. This wasn’t part of her plan to conquer the advertising world.  She’d worked hard to get here; she couldn’t throw it all away now.  She wasn't ready for this.  She clutched her belly and fought the urge to vomit.

Swallowing her guilt, she made her way to Billing.  She quietly placed her credit card in the receptionist’s waiting hands, signed the receipt and shouldered her purse.  The woman pushed a manila envelope towards her.

“What’s that?”

“The list Dr. Smith promised you.” Rachel searched the woman’s face, but couldn’t find anything.   She sighed.

Something bumped into her as she took the envelope. A pair of green eyes, sparkling with mischief, peered up at her.

The little girl was angelic with her round cheeks and soft golden curls pinned back by a huge pink bow.   She grinned at Rachel and ducked behind her legs.  Tiny warm hands gripped her knees, surprising Rachel and forcing the breath out of her body.

“Callie, where’d you go?” a voice called.   A woman appeared and Rachel stood frozen, watching her with widened eyes.  The child giggled.

“Callie!” the mother admonished. “I’m so sorry!” she apologized to Rachel. She scooped up little girl scolding her.   Callie looked back at Rachel and waved.

“Ma’am?” the receptionist asked, breaking into her thoughts.

She stared at the envelope clutched in her hands and laid it on the counter gently.

“Thanks, but I don’t think I’ll be needing this.”

This post was written as part of The Red Dress Club's Red Writing Hood. This week, we were asked to write a 600 word piece (fiction or non-fiction) about a time when we took a detour: where were we going and where did we end up? As always, constructive feedback is most appreciated!



  1. Very well written! I enjoyed reading it.

  2. Cheers, indeed! I loved this post! I followed her through the unexpected detail- every word of it!

  3. Excellent. This was such a good and an easy read. I loved how you created the character and her interactions with the doctor. I also loved how you let the little girl convince her that this detour might be worth taking:~)

    I enjoyed this story very much. Thanks for sharing with us:~)

  4. This flowed really well and I enjoyed it.

    I did feel confused about the no cancer but your pregnant part, simply because usually if you are at the point of getting the yes/no news you've had a biopsy or imaging and if the point was she had worked herself up into a frenzy because pregnancy was so very out of the question a simple line from the doctor maybe would have cleared that up for me, or her thinking to herself.

    I really liked the 'Something bumped into her as she took the envelope. A pair of green eyes, sparkling with mischief, peered up at her.' Because it's as disembodied as she is from herself in that moment.

  5. Hey Kelly. I'm just reading this time and I started with you. I'm glad I did. I very much enjoyed this. I didn't see any indication whether you want constructive criticism and I don't offer it unless it's asked for...I think this is great. I like your dialogue between doctor and patient. And it was perfect to have the nurse be neutral on the material she was handing her. I had a miscarriage that took weeks to end naturally. We were given the choice of "ending" it ourselves. The nurses handed us the paperwork like we were talking about a blood test.


  6. I railed against this the whole time, thinking who could she think she can't have the six figure salary and the Jimmy Choos just because she's going to have a baby!

    Which means, in my book, that it's an unmitigated success. You forced me to take a view not my own.

    Well done.



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