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White Tile Floor

Rated PG-13

Word Count ~1200


She’s here. Also visible here at my LiveJournal.

Any reviews are welcome, and should be directed either to my ask box or posted on my LJ.


  “This is you,” the nurse tells him, and lets go of him, shuffling off down this eerie half-lit hallway.  He breathes in and huffs out the air all at once, staring at the door.  There is a nasty green splotch underneath the door handle, and he shivers, trying not to think about what it might be made of.  He takes one more calming deep breath before pushing open the door.

A phone rings.  And rings, and rings.

                And rings.

                And rouses a man from sleep, barely.  He gets up, an automatic reaction to the sound of the telephone—Pavlov’s dog versus his bell.  He makes his way toward the kitchen.  The phone rings.  He trips over a pair of dirty jeans, an overturned chair, and a pan before he reaches the phone—which rings, again.

                The voice on the line is soft, barely controlled, as though the woman’s throat has closed up.  She’s here, she tells the man, she’s here, and why aren’t you?

                Now he is awake, and frantically trying to find those pants he almost fell over earlier.  He yanks them on.  They’re too big, probably his roommate’s, but it doesn’t matter—and he hopes his car keys are in his coat pocket as he pulls it on.

                He races out the front door, leaving it open behind him because it takes too long to close it.  The leaflet advertising for a new pizza parlour flaps off his windshield as he squeals out of the parking spot.

                The man is lucky that the city he lives in hasn’t yet put cameras at intersections as he speeds through one, two, three yellow lights and a red.

                He reaches his destination in record time.  He parks the piece-of-crap Ford that he can’t afford to turn in underneath a glowing orange streetlamp and sprints across the lot.

                Bluish-white fluorescent lights buzz over a white tile floor, and the short man blocks out old memories he doesn’t have time to deal with as he jogs to the desk.

                “I’m, err, looking for my girlfriend,” he says to the pretty young woman in pale yellow scrubs.  “Where would she be?”

                She smiles at him.  He ignores the sympathy in her eyes.  “What’s her name, sir?”

                Blushing, he mutters the name, looking around as though there will be neon signs directing him to where he needs to be.  He shuts his eyes and mouth against the sudden wave of bile threatening to release itself all over the registration book the nurse is looking at.  He hates hospitals.

                He watches the woman’s mouth as she tells him where to go, struggling to comprehend her words in his distracted state.  She asks him, please, to not run in the hallways, so he powerwalks to the elevator and joins an elderly woman with a cane.  He jabs the door close button until they start moving, and stares at the lit button for the fourth floor as the cab slowly dings its way to two.  He bounces on the balls of his feet impatiently.

                “Your first?” the woman asks, smiling knowingly at him.  He nods.  She laughs pleasantly, and pats his arm as she hobbles out onto the third floor.

                The fourth floor is dead silent; more than half of the lights are out and everyone walks as though attending a funeral.  He hears a baby’s cry and balks, backing into the elevator again and hugging himself.

                A passing nurse stops the hydraulic doors from closing, looking in at the man.  “Are you lost, sir?” she asks, “do you need help getting somewhere?”

                He shakes his head, but reaches out and takes her outstretched hand anyway.  “I’m supposed to be here,” he tells her, her thumb making slow soothing circles across his palm.  “Here, in maternity.  I just…don’t know.”  He shuffles after the tall woman as she leads him out onto the white tile floor.  “The nurse downstairs said to go to room four-fourteen.”

                She smiles in recognition.  “I just came from there!  Your family is doing fine.”  She hooks her arm into his as they walk, seeming to feel his hesitation.  “Your baby’s very healthy.  What are you going to name her?”

                Her?  The man stops short, turning to look at the nurse in shock.  “It’s a girl?”  She nods, her smile fading rapidly.

                “Oh, I thought you knew!” she cries, one hand coming to cover her mouth.

                Now it’s his turn to comfort, and he awkwardly pats the hand resting on his arm.  “They told us it would be a boy, is all,” he reassures her, “I just didn’t pick any girls’ names.”

                “Oh.”  She gives a short, relieved sigh and turns him back to face the corridor, pulling him into a quick walk as though she is embarrassed and doesn’t want to spend any more time with him.

                The pair comes to a door, plain white with a push bar across the middle.  A little plaque to the left of it tells him that this is room four-fourteen.  That on the other side of this door is a room, and inside the room there is a bed and a mother.  A crib and a baby.

                “This is you,” the nurse tells him, and lets go of him, shuffling off down this eerie half-lit hallway.  He breathes in and huffs out the air all at once, staring at the door.  There is a nasty green splotch underneath the door handle, and he shivers, trying not to think about what it might be made of.  He takes one more calming deep breath before pushing open the door.

                A scream that sounds vaguely like “help me!” rips itself from his throat, and he can hear it echoing down the corridor momentarily before the heavy metal door slams behind him and he is across the room.

                He will swear later that he heard the quick snap of breaking bones as he yanks the pillow from the grip of his baby’s mother, but for now he is too busy trying to get her away from his child to acknowledge the noise.  The doctors will tell him later that he broke her wrist while relieving her of the pillow.  They will tell him that the mother sustained a concussion against the white tile floor when they toppled.

                They will tell him that, if he hadn’t entered at just that moment, his baby would probably have died.  They will throw around big words like ‘post-partum’ and ‘manic depressive.’  They will tell him that the mother has been committed to the psychiatric ward.  They will tell him many things that he won’t care about because now he only cares about his baby.

                He takes the unregistered child home the very next day with instructions to bring her back when he’s chosen a name, so that a birth certificate can be printed.

                He agonizes over the little girl for three days, flipping through the baby name book that he had checked out from the library what feels like aeons ago.  On the fourth day, his roommate enters the kitchen to find the father bundling his daughter up tightly in the blanket his mother had knitted for her, unaware that he is being watched.  The child gurgles and he gurgles back, unable to look away from the tiny person.

                “Have you decided?” the godfather asks, and the shorter man jumps and glances at him.

                “Yes.  Her name is Mia.”


                The young dad shakes his head as he lifts the child into her baby seat and carefully buckles her in.  “Spanish.”

                “I’ve never heard of anyone Spanish named Mia.”

                “It’s not a name—it’s an adjective.”  The man hoists the basket-like seat up to his body and turns toward the door.

                “I don’t get it,” his friend says plainly.

                The father pauses in the doorway.  “In Spanish,” he explains patiently, “mia means mine.”

  1. sabbythehobbit reblogged this from pandemon-ium
  2. fattpacman reblogged this from rooonil-waazlib and added:
    Aw guys, you should read her work, I’ve known Carmen since I was like 14 and it’s so good :3
  3. rooonil-waazlib reblogged this from pandemon-ium and added:
    I like it when people read my stuff and follow me and reblog me so please do all of the above so I can get my writing...
  4. pandemon-ium posted this