Posts Tagged ‘Wedding’

The Moment The Milk Curdles (Short Story Excerpt)

August 10, 2017

June 5th, 2017.
Stark City, Oregon.
8:03 a.m.

“No one ever notices the moment the milk curdles.” That’s what Micah Halpert’s mother always said. “One moment it’s fine, and the next…tainted. Smells bad, tastes bad, and it’ll make you sick. That’s how fast things can spoil.”

But Micah had no cause to think of that on this blessed day. The proud father stood, bathed in sunlight, in Room 217 of Stark County Medical Center’s Postpartum wing, holding his newborn daughter, Hannah. Six pounds and four ounces of pure joy, asleep in his arms. Smiling, he looked at his wife. Kyla lay in her white hospital gown, head turned, eyes closed, the sheet and blanket bunched around her midriff. Just beautiful.

“Good job, sweetheart,” Micah whispered. “Good job.”

Tears pricked his eyes. He didn’t want to cry, but what else could he do? He’d waited for this moment ever since he’d said “I do” to Kyla. And they’d done it. Together. Their lives had entered a new stage of unity and responsibility. As parents, they couldn’t help but grow closer.

Year after splendid year.

“We’re gonna be a great family…”

Sniffing, Micah kissed Hannah’s soft forehead. He wanted to kiss Kyla, too, but didn’t want to wake her. God knew, she needed her rest after six hours of labor. Besides, there’d be plenty of time for kisses later on.

“Oh, thank you, Jesus, so much for this little gift. Thank you for bringing her to us, happy and healthy.”

Micah walked to the window, looked through the slatted blinds. He saw skyscrapers, pedestrians, and passing cars; none of which interested him. Instead, he wondered if his brother, Levi, would show up. He’d already called or texted everyone he knew, telling them the wonderful news, and had gotten replies ranging from “Congratulations!” to “Be right there!” from everyone except Levi. From Levi, he’d gotten a terse: “Good luck, Little Brother.”

Not the reaction Micah had hoped for. But then, Levi had never been the type to say what you wanted to hear.

Instead, Levi spoke his mind; heedless of the result.

“But this time, you’re wrong, Big Brother.” Micah grinned at little Hannah, felt a burst of pride in his chest. “This is the best day of my life…”

Good luck, Little Brother.

Micah recalled the dubious expression on Levi’s face the day he’d told him of his plan to propose to Kyla. They’d been enjoying beer and pork ribs at Billy-Bob’s Bar and Grill on a warm summer evening. “I’m gonna pop the question at the Mariners game on Sunday,” he’d said, prompting Levi to put his rib aside and take a long swallow of Hefeweizen.

“Are you sure about this, Micah?” Levi had asked. “Because there’s a lot about marriage that nobody ever talks about. Not really…”

“Like what?”

Levi had chuckled; a wry, humorless sound. “Like the subtle change that happens as soon as the ring goes on.”

“That’s a bullshit, sour grapes attitude and you know it.”

“Is it? Because I noticed the change within the first week with my ex-wife.”

“But Racquel is nuts; we all know that.”

“Oh, and Kyla’s different, eh?”

“Of course, she is! Come on, tell me she’s not one of the sweetest girls you’ve ever met…”

“For now, sure. But I’m tellin’ you—”

“Look, Levi, I know things went bad for you and Racquel, and the divorce was ugly, but can’t you set all that aside and be happy for your little brother?”

After another swallow of beer, Levi had given Micah the soberest look he’d ever seen. “Bro…you think I’m kiddin’ around here? You think I’m exaggerating about Racquel going from sweet to nasty almost overnight? When we first met, she never nagged about anything. Even when we lived together, life was a breeze. But as soon as we exchanged vows, it became, ‘Levi, stop hanging the towels on the wrong hook!’ and, ‘Levi, why didn’t you buy the double-pleated toilet paper like I told you to?’”

Micah had laughed. “Well, if you weren’t such a slob…”

“Hey, it’s all fun and games right now. But you think I’m exaggerating about how the sex went from daily to weekly to ‘Not tonight, I’ve had such a long day?’”

“So what? There’s more to life than sex.”

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