Jean held the baby in her arms as she looked out the dirty window of the hospital room. The trees leaned slightly with the summer breeze. She wished she could gaze out the window forever. She didn’t want to look down at the baby. She hated babies. All they did was cry and poop. So tiny. So helpless. They constantly needed attention.
Jean thought back to the first time she held a baby. She was practically a baby herself. Only three years old…
She stood holding her baby sister staring out a dirty window just like this one. The difference, instead of watching green leaves blow in a summer breeze, Jean watched her mother walking away from their house.
She heard a faint coo from the bundle of blankets in her arms. She looked down. How was this possibly happening, she thought.
The baby was adorable. A small round face with huge brown eyes and the perfect amount of fine brown baby hair. The baby almost looked as if it were smiling at her. She knew babies this small couldn’t really smile. It was probably gas. The little thing was probably pooping right now!
Even with that, she couldn’t help but feel a little melting of her cold heart. She’d come to the hospital knowing what she was going to do. She had no other choice. Jean didn’t want to deal with a baby in her house but she also didn’t want this baby going to live with some other family. She’d made that mistake before and she wasn’t going to let it happen again.
Jean turned away from the window. Almost without care, she handed the baby back to Margaret.
“Fine, you can come home. I’m warning you, we play by my rules. Got it?”
Margaret nodded slowly. She didn’t want to act too excited for fear Jean would change her mind.
“As for you, Little Miss,” Jean said turning her attention to the baby, “no crying in the middle of the night. I have to get up at 5am and I won’t have you ruining my sleep.”
The baby wriggled slightly in Margaret’s arms almost agreeing to the terms as well.
“Fine. I’ll see you both when you come home in a week. You know they keep you here that long, right?”
“Yes, mother,” Margaret said.
“Don’t think just because you’ve had a baby that you’re getting out of doing work around the house. I’m expecting you to take care of that and keep up with your work. In fact, you’d better pitch in even more now that you’re not working at a real job every day!”
Jean grabbed her handbag off the small chair and walked from the room.
Margaret was ecstatic! She looked down at her little baby.
“Can you believe it, Elizabeth. We’re going home! We’re allowed to come home! You and me are going to be best friends. You’ll see.”
The baby started to fuss a bit in Margaret’s arms.
“No, no, no, don’t cry. It’s going to be great. I promise. We won’t have to stay with that old meanie forever, only until I can save enough money. Then we’ll be out on our own. Me and you against the world.”
Margaret snuggle the baby close to her face and kissed her check.
“Me and you,” she whispered into her ear.