The days continued like this. They mainly consisted of me going around the house cleaning; that was all that I could really do. About a month before the baby was due to come, a big box came. In it, there were cute little baby clothes. There were about 5 shirts, 3 pairs of pants, a little pink shirt with a forget-me-not flower ring on the waist, a pink dress, a couple of pajama pairs, a pair of blue slippers, and a white pair of runners. Once I had pulled out all of the clothes out, there was a cardboard divider. Behind it, there were diapers; a lot of diapers. Some were labeled ‘NEWBORN’, while others were labeled by a range of months. I put the clothes in a white dresser located in the nursery. Then, I ate lunch – honey glazed chicken with whole wheat toast; It was one of my favourite meals. Soon, I was finished, so I put the dishes on the doorstep, and got into the shower.
I liked to sing in the shower, but I couldn’t think of any songs. Then I remembered one of my favourite childhood songs. It had a swingy beat that made me smile. My dad sad is was a blues song.
Oh Come, Oh come
My piano come
It sings a song
that lasts oh so long
Oh come, Oh come
My trumpet come
The brass it blows
It blows a song of peace
Oh come oh come
My violin come
It screams a song
It’s like a lullaby
Oh come, Oh come
My orchestra come
It has the power to change
To change us all
That’s what music does
I washed my hair, got out of the shower, and put on a skirt that looked like denim, but it was a soft airy fabric. Then I put on a white shirt that had a ruffle on the bottom,
“Anna!” Zach called
“Coming!” I walked from the bedroom to the kitchen.
“I got a surprise for you!” I finally got to the bedroom, and the first thing I saw was that Zachary was smiling a big smile. A big huge smile was on his face; one I hadn’t seen in a while. I looked down and he was holding – holding a baby!
“Is that Dakota?” I couldn’t believe it. His huge smile answered my question.
“Why is she here so early?”
“Well, she was born prematurely, but she is perfectly healthy; she is just a little small. Also, I been dismissed from my job. Don’t worry; it’s a good thing. There changing my job because well I don’t really know. I talked to one of my friends and well he said some things that well I’ll tell you about later. Do you want to hold her?” I nodded excitedly. He handed her to me. She was very small. Her little eyes were closed, and her little fingers had wrinkles on them,
“Hey little Dakota. You’re going to have a good life,”
I woke up still curled up next to Zach. Today was Saturday, so we were sleeping in. I listen closely as I had done many times last night; I was listening for Dakota. She had only cried once last night, and it was only because her diaper needed to be changed. I slipped out of bed, and went into the nursery. Dakota was no asleep, but she wasn’t crying either; she just looked up at the little light in the celling. I picked her up and smiled at her. Then, I brought her back into the bedroom. Zach had turned on his side, but he appeared to still be sleeping. I put Dakota on her back about 10 centimeters away from Zach, and then I got into the bed,
“Zach, look who’s next to you,” I said in medium tone voice. His eyes flickered open, and he smiled when he saw Dakota. He put his hand on her belly, and she grabbed his thumb, then she fell asleep. I got up kissed him on the cheek and brushed my teeth. It was then, that I realized that we weren’t pretending anymore, and I was glad.
After I brushed my teeth, I went back into the bed, and fell asleep.
I woke up about an hour later, and Zach and Dakota were gone. The bed was fully made except for where I was. I quickly jumped out of bed and checked the nursery: Dakota was there, but where was Zach? I hurried to the kitchen, and there was a little note on the stove.
“I had to go to the government building to apply for a new job. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you when I left; I didn’t want to wake you.
I sighed. I was kind of looking forward to hanging out with Zach. Then, I heard Dakota crying. I went into the nursery and checked my watch; it was time for her to eat. I went into the kitchen, got a little bottle, and fed her. As I was feeding her, I thought about what Zach said to me that first night. I reassured myself that we were in love. It made sense. To me, love was caring about one’s health and wellbeing, and if that was all, we fit the requirements. Then, I thought about my parents. When my dad died, my mom – she never cried. I cried myself to sleep every night, but she slept soundly every night. It was hard to face: my parents never loved each other.
In this way, I felt a sudden way of realization: this wasn’t life. My parents – the people who loved me cared for me, or did they never even loved each other? What did love even mean? What about to Zachary – what were his feelings? My thoughts swirled in a way that made me nauseous and uncertain. I smiled because I knew that the government – this is what they were afraid of. Zachary and I were in love and we knew it. We were not pretending and that was a good thing. Because we know what love is, we know what it isn’t. If our whole government was based off of fake love, then what was our government? If the thing that kept our government running was fake, was anything real? What would they do if they found out, or did they already know?
I put Dakota back into her crib. I wondered if she would grow up differently than everyone else. I would love her, and I thought she will love me, but I planned to tell her the truth. She would know what love is, and she would know that we had it; she would be different, but it would be good. She would get married, and she would know all of the secrets of our world; she would be different.
I looked at my watch, and it was time to eat. There was, of course, the meal waiting for me outside. They knew that it was time to eat, and they knew that I was alone. I ate the bland meal, and placed it back outside. I went into the living room, and thought, I wonder if they have already taken it up. They had: of course they had. I took a deep breath: I couldn’t look suspicious, and I couldn’t look paranoid. I went and got Dakota. I resolved to sing to her until Zach got home. When would I even tell Zach all of is? I told myself I had to wait until we were safe in bed where no one could hear us; where I hoped no one could hear us.
“I’m home!” Called Zach. I kept an arbitrary smile on my face. I walked briskly from the nursery to the kitchen. I immediately saw him, and I searched his face because something wasn’t right. His face was emotionless. Sure, there was a smile on his face, but I had known him too long to fall for this. I looked at him knowingly, and he looked back with warning in those dark blue eyes,
“Well, we should probably get to sleep."