Keep the Shoebox

When I found out my new girlfriend was pregnant, I was so happy; I moved in soon after. It was so fast, not something we had planned. On the twenty-week mark we went to the hospital for the scan.

“I hope it’s a girl,” she said.

“I don’t mind. I never thought I’d ever have a child. This is amazing, whatever it is,” I said.

We waited in the doctor’s office. My girlfriend eagerly jumped on the bed.

“So,” the doctor said entering the room, “are we all excited?”

“You have no idea Doc,” I said.

“Looks like someone has done this before,” he said to my girlfriend already ready for the ultrasound.

The doctor squeezed some gel onto his hand and spread it onto her belly. He pressed the sensor on and searched. After a few minutes he was satisfied.

“It looks like you’ll be the proud parents of a bouncing boy.”

I welled up, bringing my hands to my face, “Did you hear that honey?”

She smiled back at me.

We drove back in silence. I was shocked. I was going to have a little boy. My girlfriend seemed similarly enamored.

The next day, I had a phone call in work, it was Rachel.

“I think there’s something wrong with the baby, please come home.”

I told my boss and left.

When I got home, I shouted for her. Drips of blood painted the carpet and into the toilet. I followed them through to see Rachel in front of the bowl, throwing up.

“I’m sorry, Bob, I’m really sorry,” she said between tears.

“There’s nothing to be sorry about.”

“The baby’s gone.”

I slumped down next to her and cried.

I put her to bed and watched her. Her face contorted, so upset that she lost our child. I told her it wasn’t her fault.

“Is there anything I can get you, something to cheer you up? Anything?”

“I’d like some new shoes?” she suggested.

“New shoes?”

“Yeah, they always make me happy. You remember that pair I was looking at the other day?”

I nodded and left.

“They’re gorgeous,” she said.

“They were on offer too,” I said mustering a smile.

“Can you put them in the cupboard?”

“Sure, you don’t want to try them on?”

“Not right now, it wouldn’t be right.”

I opened the cupboard, her collection of shoes filled the shelves. I placed the new ones down.

“What do you want me to do with the box?”

“Please keep it.”

“Okay,” I said, leaving the room.

I left and entered the garage. I saw a large stack of shoeboxes and placed mine on top. Something caught my eye. I studied the boxes, each of them had been labeled with a Sharpie and a date.

Dale 12/01/16, John 03/05/15, Chad…

All of them boys names. With trepidation I picked one up, it was heavy. I knew what was in it before I opened it. She really wanted a girl.

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