Felicia awoke that Thursday morning to a fussy wail, interrupted by static on the baby monitor. She was rested, more than she had been in what seemed like forever. In fact, she hadn't slept that well since before she was pregnant.
There was a slight breeze coming in through the window and the drapes waved gently back and forth.
It seemed wrong, and a panic set in almost immediately.
Her heart raced as she fumbled on the nightstand for her glasses. She brought them to her face and looked at the alarm clock. It was 7:34. Felicia had slept all night. The baby hadn't slept more than four hours straight.
She rose and practically flew to Bailey's room. It seemed as though her feet didn't even touch the floor. Something was wrong, she could just feel it in her soul.
She grabbed the doorknob and stopped for a moment. She was shaking.
Felicia took a deep breath and told herself to calm down.
She opened the door, and Bailey was laying on her side. The cry, this cry, was unlike anything else she had ever heard come from her tiny body. As she walked nearer to the crib, she realized that Bailey was sick. She had vomited and was covered in it.
The smell overwhelmed her at once, but she fought back the wretching that began in her gut. She bent over to lift the child and felt the warmth radiating from her. Bailey had a fever too.
Chris had already left for work, and here she was, alone with a sick baby girl.
Seemed like she was always alone with the baby.
And he was always somewhere else.
It was the first time Bailey had been sick and she had no idea what to do. She took her into the bathroom to give her a bath and the baby just screamed through the whole ordeal. Bailey started to shiver in the water and her lips turned blue.
Felicia was at a loss. She didn't know what was wrong. She didn't know what to do.
She wrapped Bailey up in a towel and grabbed her cell phone to call the pediatrician. She felt disoriented and the woman who answered the phone asked if she needed to speak with a nurse right now.
Her voice was shaky.
The nurse on the other end of the phone asked how old Bailey was.
Had she been exposed to anyone I'll recently?
Yes, I mean maybe. She was in the daycare at the gym Tuesday.
They wanted to see her, just to rule out other causes, but the nurse seemed sure it was some kind of virus. Could she get there by 9:30?
Felicia looked at the clock. It was 8:47 a.m. now.
I think so.
She laid Bailey on the floor just long enough to throw on some clothes and brush her teeth and hair. It could have only been a few minutes, but by the time she was done, Bailey was inconsolable.
She lifted her back up and carried her to the changing table. Bailey was flailing and screaming. She usually loved to have her diaper changed, but was fighting her mother with everything she had. Her whole little body was covered in red blotches from crying for so long. Felicia could feel the frustration rising up but she stuffed it away. Put on a diaper and a onesie on the baby, then wrapped her in a fresh blanket and headed downstairs.
She still had a little bit of time before she needed to be at the office, so she sat on the couch and rocked her ill little girl. After only a few moments, Bailey closed her eyes and settled and the tears began to fall from Felicia's eyes.
She was scared.
She leaned over slowly and cautiously, just enough to get her phone out of her back pocket and texted Chris to tell him that Bailey was sick. He was out on a job and probably wouldn't even check his phone. He wouldn't even know for hours that his little girl was sick. Not that it mattered since he was hardly around. She sighed. More tears.
She touched the screen to open her Facebook account. Typed a status update.
Baby girl is sick for the first time, and I don't know what to do.
Almost immediately, people started commenting. They sent messages. They asked what they could do to help. They wanted to make sure that Bailey was okay, that she was okay. She got three text messages. Someone offered to make dinner.
It was all so strange, this outpouring of love and concern from people that she hardly heard from otherwise. And for what?
Just because Bailey was sick?
Really? That's all it took?
Most of the people who were suddenly coming out of the woodwork were the same people who hadn't given Felicia the time of day in years. Only a handful of them ever interacted with her on any level outside of the strange pretend world of Facebook. Some were the very people who had ignored her back in high school. These people were virtually strangers to her, some had even picked on her back then. And now they were all terribly concerned about her little girl.
No one cared about her before.
Her phone vibrated as another text came in.
The tiniest hint of a smile emerged as she watched her feverish little girl sleep.
This piece is part of a story that began many months ago. The first installment can be found here, the second here, though this obviously happens long before those two chronologically.
This piece is also part of a fiction writing group that I belong to. Our shared theme this week was this:
|Things do not change; we change.|
~Henry David Thoreau
As the other writers post their stories, I will add their links below. Please check them out!