A gust of wind blew through the trees outside the suburban house, producing a sound still unfamiliar to Christine who lay wide-awake inside. Though she was warm under the covers, she was sure she felt the cold from outside creeping its way through cracks and poorly insulated windows in the old house. As she lay for another few minutes, listening to the sound of D’s steady breathing and the plastic sheeting rustling in the still unfinished part of the house, she willed the morning sickness to go away, not wanting to leave the warmth of their bed.
It was only fall, yet for some reason the house always seemed cold. According to the plan they made when they bought the house four months earlier, they should’ve been finished insulating the house and have moved on to the interior, but their plans had changed when the condition of the roof turned out worse than they had first expected.
In order to move into the house on time, they had hired contractors to fix the roof, and other contractors to handle insolation, while Danny began work on the interior of the house with as much help, as he would allow from Christine. Even though she loved the house and had done so from the day they went to see it, living in a construction site, with only the most necessary rooms finished, was getting on her nerves.
After several minutes of stubbornly trying to fight the nausea, she had to get up to make her way to the bathroom. Apparently she had been struck by a stubborn case of morning sickness that, even though she was well on her way through her fifth month of pregnancy, didn’t seem to want to release its hold on her.
She pushed the covers aside, careful not to wake up Danny, before she made her way out of bed and rushed to the bathroom. She had taken comfort in being told that most women didn’t experience morning sickness past their first trimester, but she hadn’t been that lucky. Instead it was more often than not that she was woken up by it in the middle of the night.
Often, it would take her a while to go back to sleep, so she would lay awake trying to get used to the absolute silence in the house. She had lived in the city her entire life, so long that she didn’t notice police sirens or drivers yelling into traffic, the silence, however, was so thick yet empty, that sometimes the lack of city-noise kept her awake.
She dragged her feet across the carpeted floor as she walked back into the bedroom, where Danny was at least half awake, as he put his arm around her when she crawled back to bed.
“Morning sickness?” He asked so quietly that she wasn’t sure he was even aware of having asked her a question.
“Mmhmm.” She said, closing her eyes though she would lie awake another while, listening to the rustling of plastic sheeting as if the draught from the un-insulated windows was playing a quite game with it in the darkness.
Danny had left Christine still asleep when he had finally gotten up to take a shower. The house sometimes seemed even colder than what the fall weather could be blamed for, so even though he was technically clean, he stalled in the shower, not quite ready for the shock of leaving the hot water.
The cold, among other things, worried him. He wasn’t sure moving to the house before it was finished had been such a good idea, even though the decision had been made to spare both of them the stress of finding a temporary home, while getting ready for parenthood.
He knew Christine was cautious, she wouldn’t do anything unless it was perfectly safe for the baby, but what worried him were the things beyond Christine’s control. She had laughed when he voiced his concerns about her catching a cold due to the cold and the draught, and he was sure her reaction would be the same if he told her he was worried about the dust from the renovation work being harmful to her or the baby.
He stayed under the spray of warm water for another few minutes before he got out, knowing he had to leave time for his wife to take a shower and have breakfast before work.
Shivering, he reached for his towel, making a mental note to call the contractors again to get the insulation work finished.
As he started to dry off, his attention fell on the mirror. It was all misted up from the collision of temperatures, but if he hadn’t known better it looked almost frozen over. Only the shape of a small hand was thawed in the lower corner. Even though he knew it was probably a handprint that Christine had left when she had been up that night, the mere existence of it made him uneasy.
He reached out and quickly wiped it away with his hand, before he hurried to the bedroom to get dressed, not wanting to stay in the bathroom.
Christine was still sound asleep, having managed to create a cocoon out of the covers in the 15 minutes Danny had been in the bathroom, only her head was visible above the covers, her face partly hidden by her hair.
Smiling by himself, Danny got dressed, the handprint already forgotten as he went to wake his wife, so she too could get ready for work.
Having sat down on his own side of the bed and gently nudged Christine’s shoulder, he smiled as she opened her eyes and made a somewhat awkward attempt at stretching her arms while still tangled in the covers.
“Good morning.” Danny said, trying to suppress a chuckle as Christine turned away from him to check the time, somehow not convinced she had to get up already. “Did you sleep okay?”
“Yeah, sort of.” She said, reluctant to leave the warmth of the covers just yet.
“How many times were you awake?” Danny asked, remembering all too well the feeling of her cold feet sliding up against his as she’d crawled back to bed.
“Just two.” She said, reaching up to touch his cheek. “Don’t worry, it was just morning sickness.”
He nodded, knowing Christine struggled quite a bit with morning sickness, but he wasn’t able to completely shake off the worries and he knew Christine noticed as she watched him for a few seconds, her brow furrowed in concentration, before she finally spoke.
“What is it?” She asked, for a second she seemed more worried about him than he about her.
“Nothing.” He said, but noting the look of disbelief that spread across her face he continued. “I’m just wondering if living in all this dust is good for you and the baby.”
She smiled as she pushed herself upright in bed, kicking at the covers until they only covered her legs.
“Danny, you’re amazing,” She told him, “but babies don’t breathe in the womb. There’s no risk our baby will inhale dust.”
“I know,” he said. “but you might and I worry.”
“You worry too much.” She said, smiling as she looked down at the small baby-bump toying with the hem of her nightshirt that had ridden up to reveal a few inches of olive skin.
“And you need new PJs.” He countered, gently moving his fingers across the bare skin on her belly, causing goose bumps to form. “It’s going pretty fast huh?”
Christine could only agree and the two sat on their bed making small-talk about approaching parenthood, until Christine had to take a shower to be ready on time, while Danny went to the kitchen to prepare breakfast for his wife.