Out of Time

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**I’m too late to link up, but I’m using the prompt from Yeah Write.  Since it’s time for a new me & time to stretch myself, I’m shucking my fear & returning to writing.**

Tina’s face shines with sweat. I dab it with a cool cloth and catch a drip of snot before it hits her chest. Her chin is tucked tightly, like a penguin nudging her young into her perfect hiding place. I push the damp hair out of her eyes and gently secure it with a bobby pin.

She reaches for my Sprite.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I say.

She ignores me and gulps it down like a drunk who’s been off the sauce for weeks. Not a minute later she retches, missing the flimsy emesis basin next to her.

I press the call button and move what’s left of my drink out of her reach. The sweat-snot rag is useless as a makeshift mop.

A nurse knocks and enters, her eyes and nose questioning from behind the curtain. I wave her in and say, “Sorry, we had a little accident.” Tina glowers at me, her vomit now a pool on the blanket that’s dripping onto the floor.

The monitor beeps and I watch the spike take over the screen. Meanwhile my best friend moves into another realm of consciousness, one I can’t comprehend. Over the last 20 hours I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut; I’ve learned not to touch her anywhere below the neck; and I’ve learned to hide my drinks. Her breathing is measured, deep, punctuated with low murmurs that seem to come directly from the basketball in her belly.

The nurse stops changing the linens to switch off the volume on the machine. She glances at the last few pages of printouts, then at Tina. She washes her hands, snaps on a pair of rubber gloves, and grabs the lube from the warmer.

“Hon, we’re running out of time. I’m going to check you again, but…”

“I know, I know, alright?” Tina cuts her off. I start to say something and then bite my lip instead.

The nurse leans in from the foot of the bed and I watch my friend’s face contort. Suddenly Tina’s hand shoots out to grab mine. Tears burn my eyes and for a split second we’re nine-year-0lds again who have just patched things up after a fight about something stupid.

“You’re still at a four, and minus two station,” the nurse says, pulling her gloves off over the trash can. I’m going to page Dr. Lewis now.” The curtain swishes and we’re alone again.

“You okay?” I ask Tina, not wanting to set her off. I feel like I’m in the circus, walking the tightrope. One wrong move will upset the balance.

My oldest friend looks at me then as if she’s seeing me for the first time. Her eyes widen.

“You,” she says. “I need you to take this baby. You’re the only one who can.”

 

 

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  • http://www.citizenofthemonth.com Neil Kramer

    Nice. I was caught up in what was going on.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Thanks, Neil. That was the goal, so if I at least caught your attention, I did something right. Happy New Year!

  • Lisa Allen

    WHY are you not writing novels for me to get lost in? Love this.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Lisa,

      You’re sweet, but I can barely write a 500-700 word flash fiction blog post, let alone write something of novel length… but your kind comments mean a lot to me. xo

      • Lisa Allen

        You underestimate yourself, Erin. I’ll just keep telling you until you see what I do. xoxo

  • TLanceB

    Thanks for using “shines” instead of glistens. Simple approach made this scene pop.
    I love the last line.
    More please, your talents screams. – Lance

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Lance,

      I’m fairly certain that before I edited it “shines” was “glistens.” So there’s that. I can’t believe I’ve been “away” from this for so long. I’ve now subscribed to several blogs w/ weekly writing linkups, etc. and maybe I can flex some more. Need to add Trifecta to that mix. Thank you so much for reading!

      ;-)

  • Natalie the Singingfool

    You should link up next week! This was an entertaining read.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Thank you, Natalie. I was too tired last night to finish in time to link up…and I’m not keen on the voting part, but it’ll still be good for me to put myself out there and work on my writing! I appreciate your stopping by to read.

  • http://www.thekircorner.com Kir

    my best friend Lisa is due with her first baby (OMG!!!) in 4 days and so this hit close to home. She is so put together, so rational in light of my flights of fancy that I am wondering how childbirth is going to be for her (even though I probably won’t be there ). I suspect she will be amazing as she normally is.

    the language of this is what was riveting, your fiction is always raw and honest , just like you are. Spittle and sweat and vomit, you make it almost romantic and most definitely relatable, as if we’re standing in that room.

    hope you’ll be continuing the story.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Kir,

      Thanks for reading & commenting. Did Lisa have her baby yet?? I can’t wait to hear about it, you must be so excited! I don’t know if I’ll continue this. You know I’ve only dabbled in fiction and so…. I feel more comfortable with shorter bits. I’d need your advice about how to grow it, because just the idea terrifies me!!
      xoxo

      • http://www.thekircorner.com Kir

        nope! She’s due tomorrow. Honestly, I was kind of hoping the baby would come on the 8th and the boys and baby would share a birthday. ;)

        I am excited. I don’t have any biological niece or nephews, this will be the closest I get now…so yes, this baby is a joy already.

        and you’re incredible when you write fiction, I am always caught up in your stories. Your language and ability to weave a tale is a talent I wish I had. Day at a time, right? But please keep writing my friend.

        Don’t be afraid, I’m here with a hand outstretched if you need it. xo

  • tonyawertman

    Oh my! You are good. You have to continue the story…. you have to!!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Tonya,

      Thanks for your sweet enthusiasm, mama! Appreciate your reading & stopping by, especially with all you have going on! xo

  • Kim@Co-Pilot Mom

    I hope you continue the story – I want to know more! I could feel the tension. So good, Erin!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Thank you very much, Kim. I would like to try and lean into fiction more. I think I could be good at it, if only I wasn’t so scared. Need to open myself up more, especially to the constructive criticism. xoxo

  • http://www.about100percent.com/ Andrea

    So good, Erin. I was in there with you.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Andrea,

      Thanks for reading, friend. Maybe one day soon I will be brave enough to invite constructive criticism. It feels too bright, too harsh, right now… but I’d like to grow. And there’s only one way to do that, right? xoxo

  • kory

    Sounds good Erin, makes me wonder what is going to happen next?

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Kory,

      Thanks for reading. I wish I knew!

      • kory

        Just keep thinking and plugging away at it, the answers will come.