The crashing sounds of the smooth porcelain tub filling with water nearly drowned out the echoing in her mind as she sat in the shallow depths cradling her plump belly. Her head hung low, facing her hands as they slowly stroked the firm, bulbous protrusion. Thoughts seemed like pale smoke, unimportant and impossible to clench.
As she turned her head left, her eyes traveled past the open bathroom door and settled on the gift-laden table erected temporarily in the entrance hall. Jade had pestered her for weeks about having a baby shower but had never offered to host it. She would ring the doorbell now and then, hefting her own toddler on a bony hip, and offer suggestions she had found online for do-it-yourself perfect decorations and pastries. She had been over just hours earlier, expressing mournfully how her sensitive system couldn’t handle the amount of refined sugars in the store-bought desserts.
Her eyes trailed back slowly to her hands. The chipped blue nail polish and too-large wedding ring had bothered her for so long; it seemed almost a relief to look at them with nothing but bland acceptance. Beneath her hands squirmed the organism, a parasitic, ignorant gift. A shiver of cowardice slithered up her spine, forcing a sigh to slip past her lips unchecked. Slow tears dripped onto her navel.
She lay back, not bothering to prevent water from leaping over the rim of the basin, crossed her arms to grip chilled shoulders, and winced at the tenderness in her slit wrists. The fog settling in her vision prompted lazy eyelids to drift shut, body sinking down to rest in peace in wine-colored bath water.