The Cost of a Baby – By Yolande Pienaar
Micro Fiction / October 26, 2008

Jim walks down the long empty passage, the scent of antiseptics overwhelming in his nostrils. Number eight, number six. He glances down at the small card in his hand. Mrs. Robson is in room two. Three more to go. He walks past an open door and flicks his gaze inside. Four white hospital beds line the wall. A woman sits up, gasping for air while clutching a bundle to her ample chest. He forces his gaze forward. Number three. He is close now. At the next door he stops, listens. The wheels of a medicine cart screech on the tiled floor behind him. He looks at the card again. Yes, this is the right number. He extends his hand towards the door and pushes. The door swings open. Mary sits on the bed with her pink nightgown open to the waist, her blond hair a mass of curls. She pouts her lips in concentration. A tiny bundle lies on the bed in front of her. Her eyes are fixed on the movements of the small legs and arms. His entrance goes unnoticed. Jim’s chest swells. This is his boy. His beautiful, healthy, baby boy. He takes a step forward. Mary…