The baby was perfect and

Anita Trimbur

 

the labor nurse said, He’s got hair! while Todd looked between his fingers from across the room and I wiped the fluid glistening off Nicholas’s pink forehead, touched his shock of dark hair, like Todd’s, but his face was mine, then Nicholas threw applesauce off his highchair and screamed until he glowed newborn pink, and Todd said Something’s wrong, but Nicholas was just a baby, so I said so, He’s just a baby, wet his pacifier with sugar water, and in pre-school Nicholas ripped loose a girl’s barrettes (Apologize!), Nicholas just rubbed his nose, but He looked straight at me, the teacher’s aide told me by phone, so Nicholas brought home a drawing of our family in orange crayon and I magnetized it to the fridge and said to Todd, How sweet and Todd said, They want me to go to LA for work so I helped pack his suitcase and on weekends home we breakfasted as a family and Nicholas smeared a Cinnabon on the booth cushion and I said, Nicholas has an A in art class and Todd said nothing so I ordered two sunny-side up eggs and ate them and that winter I chaperoned for the museum field trip and Nicholas’s classmates walked single file through exhibits of preserved insects and taxidermies with glass eyes but in the room with the dinosaurs Nicholas jumped the velvet rope barrier around the Tyrannosaurus skeleton (Nicholas!) and stepped inside the shadow of each rib and I told them He’s my little ball of fire before I taped Nicholas’s art portfolio on the wall even though Todd didn’t notice and I said I think this is you and pointed to a sketch of an airplane with scribbles of clouds smudged so dark with lead it could have been smoke and then the washing machine spun Todd’s smell out of the clothes and he said I’ll see you next month after the promotion and Nicholas and I stayed home and played board games, so I asked him Why did you take that picture? and imagined him angling a phone underneath his art teacher’s skirt when she bent to pick up a fallen palette of watercolors and when he looked at me his face was still mine, and I told Todd Nicholas is suspended and Todd didn’t ask what for, so Nicholas kicked the dishwasher hard enough to shudder the ceramics inside and I stood there pink-faced while Todd ate his breakfast.

Anita Trimbur holds a BA in Fiction Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. Her flash fiction appears or is forthcoming in Pembroke Magazine and has been longlisted for the Smokelong Quarterly Award for Flash Fiction. Currently, Anita serves on the editorial board of Nimrod International Journal.