Short Story Preview: The Unscheduled Delivery – Josie Arden
‘A busy day,’ thought Betty, ‘frenetic even…’ The gynaecology clinic’s appointment book, like the waiting room, had overflowed all day and as the hours dragged by, the smiles of her colleagues became just a little fixed. By five o’clock everybody was glad to put away files, stethoscopes and sphygmomanometers, and forget for a while the medical complexities of pregnant mothers, the poignancy of miscarriages, the joy of normal deliveries. (That beautiful mother, this morning, whose baby might soon be stillborn. Betty had been so saddened, it still hurt.)
But now, with aching back and feet, she badly wanted to be home – with Gerald. She felt she had done her bit, today, for the babies of tomorrow. She wanted to be curled up beside her husband on the settee, and yes, she admitted, perhaps be cosseted a little. Besides, there was something she wanted to talk to him about – if only they could find the time.
She was still thinking about this as she arrived home. ‘Home’ was The Plough, where Gerald had been landlord for a year. In thirty minutes, customers would be arriving. A delicate discussion in thirty minutes? Hopeless! And after closing time? No good either. They invariably just collapsed into bed. Then she remembered…tonight, she mustn’t let Gerald see how tired she was because he had taken to saying: ‘You really should give up this midwife business. Look how it exhausts you!’
‘Oh Gerald!’ she had snapped, ‘All women get tired sometimes. Besides, it’s not being a midwife that’s the problem!’ (There, she had nearly let it out!)