I watched as Avery lifted some pumpkins that he had found left in the garden onto the porch. They were big and beautiful, bright orange. Some remembrances of fall give me a feeling of good feeling. I grew them and all the food in our pantry and root cellar with hardly any help at all. In the fall Avery was gone on a couple of long freight runs and my sister had stayed with me. We harvested most of the pumpkins. Some are in the root cellar and some we cut up and dried. I had made lots of pumpkin puddings and found I could make it as good as Mother did. My cooking skills are something I am proud of and I can tell that Avery is too. He likes to have someone stop in to eat supper with us. Though he has been careful about doing that now that I am almost to the end of my pregnancy.
I am just waiting for my baby to be born now. I am tired and feel big. Avery has been staying around home. Mostly doing jobs that are only a day or two away at the most. I know I am holding him back. Ruth drove out in her buggy the other day. I was ashamed of how I looked. She looks so pretty and thin. I saw Avery help her out of the buggy and for the first time I really thought about what he was seeing when he looks at me now. I just wanted to cry. Ruth came bearing baby gifts and some fresh fruit that she got from a company that transported it from down south. She said some of it had gotten ruined but she brought me 4 oranges! I was so happy to see something fresh again. Oranges, one of my favorite treats.
I invited Ruth to eat lunch with us and she accepted. "I apologize Ruth for not having something more elaborate for lunch, but I didn't know you were coming," I smiled faintly at her as I put a dish of cold chicken salad on the table.
"Oh Rachel, don't give it a second thought! Just to spend time with you, and Avery," she turned toward Avery and smiled brightly as she continued, "is treat enough for me."
"Why would anyone want to come see me when I am bigger than cow?" I felt like bawling right then.
Ruth jumped up and took the knife out of my hand and pushed me toward the chair, "Honey, you sit down. You have been working too hard as it is, and you are about to have a baby. Soon too," she picked up the dishes and set them on the table.
Avery pulled the chair out for me and said, "Ruth is right, Rachel. Sit here and I will help her finish."
I looked at him and tried to smile, "Avery, I am supposed to take care of you. I am your wife and just because I am having a baby doesn't mean I can't do my chores or serve my guest," I replied as I looked at Ruth.
Avery took my hand and Ruth's as he asked the blessing before our meal. I felt relieved for us to be all sitting down eating now. I looked at Ruth's small waist line and then down at my own, or where mine used to be. I was smaller than Ruth before I got pregnant.
Later when Ruth was gone and I was in the kitchen cleaning up, Avery came in and started helping me. "Avery, please go sit down. You don't have to help me. This is easy work and I can do it. I am fine," I looked at him trying to hold back the tears in my eyes that were threatening to spill at any moment.
He came to me and brought me close to him in his arms, he just held me tight and I started to cry softly. "Shhh, shhh, honey, there is nothing to cry about now. Everything will be okay. In a few weeks you will be all done with this and holding our baby in your arms," he soothed me.
I felt safe in his arms and just wanted to stay there. "Oh Avery, I am so scared."
"Scared of having the baby?" he asked tenderly.
"No, I think I will handle that fine. I am scared you won't love me anymore." There! I told him my deepest fear and what had been on my mind the last couple of weeks.
"Rachel! What makes you think that is possible? Nothing will ever change the way I feel about you. The baby? You think our child will make me not love you? How can you think that? I think us having a baby has brought us much closer."
"Yes, but now I am so fat," and I started crying again.
Then I heard him chuckle, "Oh baby, you will never be fat. I can tell. You are going to have this little baby and then will be back to work taking care of all of us again. Besides, I think you look enticingly good this way," he smiled that special look in his eyes.
Oh yes, Avery Longworth can be quite the charmer. He is the best husband my parents could have ever found for me. I hope my sister Esther marries a man as good as mine. With that we blew out the light and went upstairs together.
Copyright © 2010 Kathleen G. Lupole
Photograph Kathleen G. Lupole
Photograph Kathleen G. Lupole