May 9, 2017

Fiction by Nancy de Guerre: "Tiny Cracks"

Nancy de Guerre is a freelance writer and editor happily pursuing her passion for creative writing. While her degree in English Literature and French has taken her in many directions, she is delighted to come back to what she loves most. She writes short stories, poetry and creative non-fiction and has been published in the Globe & Mail, Canada’s national newspaper, among others.



I guess she’s a kind of miracle. I look at her now and wonder what the hell we were thinking. Her fingers are so friggin tiny and her mouth does this little round ‘o’ thing. Don’t get me started on the eyes. It’s like I could swim in them, you know? They’re blue and watery and all shiny-like.
    I took the test three times but didn’t say a word to him until I got the official yes. It was right after Christmas and I thought at first it was just the stress of it all, you know? Right away we made a plan. I mean, we didn’t even question it. A no-brainer, right? It had to happen on a Thursday night cause Sam figured that was the only time he could do it without taking time off. So Julie, this girl I work with? She knew this place that’s outside of the city that could take care of it after hours. She wrote the name and address on a little scrap of paper. Country something, the place was called. Like it was a little slice a heaven we were getting to visit. Like it was gonna have a hot tub and homemade breakfast for us. Country Haven. That’s it. What a joke, eh?
    The truth is, we were gonna—I mean, she really wasn’t supposed to be here.
    My favourite time to hold her is in the still of the night. In the darkened room, we rock, and I breathe in her sweet smell. Sometimes she grabs a hold of my finger and just squeezes until her little knuckle turns white. Like she doesn’t wanna let go of me, ever.

   Anyway, we went ahead with the plan one Thursday in January. We were driving down this country road, but Sam kept telling me were lost. Look at the number again, he said. Check the street—it’s gotta be a mistake. Did you copy it down wrong, he wondered? Like I’m an idiot or something. I’d already looked at the little piece of paper a million times. As if maybe the scrawly handwriting held some kind of hidden message. We were in the middle of friggin nowhere, and I could barely see past the piles of snow that lined the road.The late afternoon light was almost gone and we were whizzing by so fast I couldn’t make out the numbers on the little signposts in front of the long driveways. Those damn country roads.
        So it was really windy, and you could hear a little high-pitched sound through the open spot around the back window of Sam’s truck. His heater wasn't working properly and we were both freezing. And then the snow started, and it was getting late.
    The thing is, we were friggin having a fight. What a time, right? The darkness was setting in, and he didn’t know where the hell we were. We passed a burger place and I told him we should of stopped. Like this was no time to play games, I said. Or to try and act like you know what the hell you’re doing when you don’t.
    So at this point, I was about to blow up. I was already scared out of my mind and the last thing I needed was for him to have a little hissy fit. I fumed for awhile and stared out the window. He just glared ahead, eyes on the road. But when I took a little peek at him, I could see his nostrils doing this thing, right? I don’t know why, but it always makes me laugh. It’s kinda like no matter how mad I am, seeing his nostrils flare just makes it okay. So I looked, and I stared for a sec. And then I looked away. I tried to hold it in, but suddenly I wanted to explode with laughter. I watched the road zip past, and then I just burst out with this massive cackle. I couldn't help it!
    But holy shit. When I saw what he did next I wanted to take it back.
    I mean, it was just so fast. He gave me this look - just for a split second and then he veered the wheel. I mean hard. Like he was crazy. Even in the dim light I could see his face was all twisted-like. And it freaked me out. Honestly, I’d never seen him so pissed! It was like he didn’t give a shit what would happen. But then he slammed his foot on the break and swung the wheel back to avoid what was coming. It all happened so fast.
    It was too late. We were in this massive snowbank at the side of the road. Like we were half buried in it, and I couldn’t say a fucking word. I was in shock. I was, like terrified. It was pitch dark all of a sudden and the wind was howling like crazy through the tiny cracks. The engine had gone dead, and we were just sitting there. Neither of us saying a word. Just our breathing and the sound of the wind and little bits of snow whirling around us.
    And we seemed to sit there forever. I don’t remember what I was thinking. At first I was just so pissed, and then I started to wonder what the hell he thought he was doing. But I just sat there. I felt him beside me. I heard him breathing hard, but I couldn’t look. And minutes passed.
    But then out of nowhere, I just started bawling. Like big sobs and my chest was heaving. And I still couldn’t look at him. I just cried like I could go on forever.  And when I finally stopped, it was weird, cause I wasn’t angry anymore. I felt like this, crazy love feeling come over me. So big, like it filled the car. And I knew no matter what, that we’d be okay.
    And then I felt him moving toward me and his arms were around me. I could feel his wet face against mine in the dark. And then his body was racking with sobs, too. It didn’t matter that the gear shift was between us and our bodies were kind of contorted. We just sat holding each other, crying. Like two babies.
    Finally, we got quiet. And I looked out at the snowflakes floating in front of the windshield. And for a split second, nothing mattered outside of that moment in the car. Sitting in a snowdrift, surrounded by darkness and the whistling wind.
   We never talked about it again after that. It was as if that night never happened. As if we’d never made a plan, as if we never ever doubted she’d happen.
       Sam thinks she looks like me. But I tell him that’s silly because babies just look like themselves. That what I’ve always figured, but I might be wrong.
    Just now when she looked up at me? I’m pretty sure she’s got his eyes.
© Nancy de Guerre

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