portion of the artwork for Bobby Parker's fiction

Brian Wilson
Bobby Parker

“If you're going to faint, make sure you drop to the left,” said the tall doctor towering over me like my high school headmaster.

He was pushing buttons on a machine that made me think of Star Trek. People in crisis.

I hadn’t thought about fainting at all.

Dizziness began to rise in my head like I was letting go of a hundred black balloons. A hundred frightened thoughts floating to the top of my skull. Talking to me, singing songs of blackness.

And then we heard her cry. A tear rolled down my wife’s right cheek. Her frightened face was flushed red with morphine and fear. “Isobelle?” she whispered.

“Isobelle,” I said.

The nurses reminded me of angels from a childhood dream who fixed my broken toys. They smiled and nodded at us.

As they stitched up my wife in the operating theatre I sat in the recovery room. Just me and her. Father and daughter.

I looked at her. She looked at me.

Between our eyes, in the clean white space, the warmth of God spread through me like heroin.

Then there was a voice. A voice full of noises in the attic. Night terrors and something scratching at bedroom windows sneering, “Do you feel … anything? What if you don’t … feel anything? What if you are … cold? Incapable of loving this … child?”

A flicker of doubt flapped across my heart like a crow’s wing. Then I cried. Thank Christ, I cried. Oh yes. Thank you. Thank you!

Then I laughed. But the voice … “You don’t deserve this … feeling! Worm! Sick, stinking … parasite! Look at all the bad … things you have done … I can show you. Show you … the bad things … and …”

No. Look at her eyes.

Nurses drifted in and out of the room like ghosts. Indifferent to my howling and giggling, just another man, another man and his love.

The voice hissed like raindrops on burning leaves and scurried beneath the wheels of the bed as they wheeled my wife into the recovery room with us.

I caught the surgeon’s gaze through the door of the operating theatre. He smiled. A gentle smile, the lights turned down.

It was over. Two weeks of waiting. Not knowing. Nervous breakdown.

My wife looked at me over the baby, her beauty filling the room like a stereo playing Good Vibrations at full volume. “Isobelle?” she said.

“Isobelle,” I said.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 35 | Winter 2012