According to Plan
She went into labor at 10 a.m.
I got the call on my private extension, a number known only by my wife and secretary, and when I picked up, I heard her. She was holding her breath in between breathy groans, and I could tell she was moving around a lot by the feedback through the phone.
“Baby,” she panted. “It’s time.”
I told her I would be there to pick her up as soon as possible, and was in the middle of telling her ‘I love you’ when she hung up. I gathered my briefcase, stuffed a packet of gum inside, grabbed my coat from the closet beside my desk, and hurried out of my office. As I was pushing the door open to the private garage, I turned and said to my assistant, who was hovering around me uselessly, “Two dozen snow-white lilies. They go to my wife in the hospital.” She nodded anxiously, and jotted my message down in the leather notepad I had gotten her for Christmas.
When I got to our house, a two-story building with a three-car garage attached that we had designed when we got married, I found her waiting for me outside, her hospital bag clutched tightly in her hand and a grimace on her face.
The front door was hanging wide open.
I helped her climb into the passenger seat, and was a bit worried at her white complexion. I rubbed my thumb across her cheek, and planted a gentle kiss on her chapped lips. I shut the car door, with more force than necessary, and went and closed the front door calmly.
The ride to the hospital was nerve-wracking; my normally calm wife was screaming obscenities with shattering intensity while gripping my free-hand with white knuckles. I squeezed back, not at all afraid she would break my fingers.
Finally, she was situated in a hospital bed screaming her head off because she was too far along in labor for medication like she had originally wanted. I felt terrible for not picking her up sooner, for not staying home so I could bring her to the hospital as soon as possible.
The birth went fast.
She was lying there dying as I welcomed my beautiful daughter to the world. I don’t think I could ever forgive myself for not knowing that she was fading so fast. The chaos that surrounded me, I assumed was normal.
After one long look at my beloved wife’s haggard face, I felt my daughter take a huge breath of air and let it out shakily.
It was her last.
I stood there, holding my beautiful daughter’s limp body, staring at my gorgeous wife’s face, tears slipping down my cheeks when the flowers were brought in. They were beautiful, of course, the best that money could possibly buy.
And they were the only thing that went according to plan.