Jason came to an abrupt stop in a parking spot, his bumper hitting a small signpost pushing it forward.
“You can’t park here,” Cici said as she rubbed her swollen belly.
“Say’s who?” he said yanking the keys from the slot.
“That sign you hit? Says for doctor’s only.”
Jason furrowed his brow. He glanced around the parking lot not spying another space that seemed acceptable for his rusty pickup truck.
“That’s just during the week,” he said.
Cici rolled her eyes. Jason had a way of making up rules that only applied to him. A rolling pressure gripped her again. She took a deep breath. By the time Jason had come around to her side, she was doubled in pain.
“Maybe it’s not really time,” Jason said. “You aren’t due for two more weeks.”
“AWWWWWW, SHIT,” Cici said, “FUCK, FUCK, FUCK.”
Jason rubbed the back of his neck and sighed. “Come on.”
He grabbed Cici’s arm and pulled her through the parking lot. “I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time,” Jason said, sliding an irritated glance toward Cici.
Cici thought that her mom was probably right, that Jason wasn’t the man for her, but here she was. “I know, I know,” Cici said through gritted teeth.
The doors to the hospital slid open as they approached. The interior was brightly lit by humming fluorescent lights. A nurse approached, beaming at them.
“Looks like we've got a baby on the way,” she said clapping her hands as if she’d won a raffle.
“Not due for two more weeks,” Jason said curtly.
“Babies come when they’re ready,” the nurse said.
Jason took this as a sign. This baby was gonna be trouble. If he really did ruin his big day, he’d never forgive him.
“You doing okay?” the nurse asked Cici.
“She’s fine,” Jason said. “Can we talk to a doctor and see if we can postpone this thing until tomorrow?”
Jason scanned the emergency room.
The nurse threw a questioning glance Cici’s way. Cici rolled her eyes.
Jason sullenly followed as the nurse whisked Cici down the linoleum-floored hall in a wheelchair. He rechecked the time. How long did it take to have a baby? he wondered. Maybe all wasn’t lost.
In no time the nurses had Cici hooked up to an IV and all sorts of beeping machines. Jason spied the small TV mounted to the ceiling in the corner of the room. He thought longingly of the brand new 55” model he had at home. He looked back at Cici as she cried out in pain. Jason grabbed one of the women rushing around the room.
“Where’s the remote?” he asked.
The nurse frowned at Jason, “No time for TV, we’re having a baby.”
“Right,” Jason said. He glanced at the wall clock.
He hadn’t believed his luck. He’d stopped by the neighborhood Walmart just to look. Just to look at what he couldn’t have for the hundredth time. It was that skinny teenager in the blue vest who showed him the opened box. Jason slipped him a twenty and the kid marked it down just enough so he could swing it. It was the best thing that ever happened to him.
“Sir?” a nurse said, interrupting Jason’s thoughts.
“Your wife needs you.”
Jason glanced back at Cici. She looked scared. Well so was he. He rechecked the time.
“How long is this thing gonna take?” Jason asked her.
“Go over there and help your wife,” the nurse said shoving him toward the bed.
“She’s just doing this to piss me off,” Jason said to the nurses back.
Jason stood awkwardly at the side of the bed and looked down at Cici. She was sweating.
Small bits of hair were plastered to her face. It reminded him of football players sitting on the sidelines after they took off their helmets.
“You think it would be okay if I went home for a while?” Jason had just enough time to get home, grab a beer from the fridge and plop down in his recliner. He’d missed the pregame, wasn’t that enough?
Cici cried out again.
“Put this on,” the pushy nurse said tossing a set of scrubs in his hands.
Jason sighed. His life sucked.
There was a flurry of activity and Jason was pushed into the far corner.
The doctor rushed in looking perturbed. “Some asshole parked in my spot.”
The three people and a medical cart between him and the door ensured Jason wasn't going anywhere. His gaze landed on the TV in the corner again.
“Do you think I could just turn it on for a minute?” Jason asked grabbing the pushy nurses sleeve. She batted it away.
“But…” Jason pleaded.
Cici was now wailing constantly. Jason watched the baby pushing its way out of Cici's body. He felt tears welling in his eyes. He knew it, but he didn't want to believe it – he'd missed kick off.