Chapter Excerpt

In My Rearview Mirror



Sweat covered her face like molasses on a hot-buttered biscuit. The contractions were coming every two minutes and the pain in her pelvic region was almost too much to bear. Margo’s swollen brown body lay on its back, her legs spread apart, obliging the commands of the doctor as she readied herself to bring forth her babies into the world.

She had to be out of her mind to decline the epidural that would have made this delivery less painful. Maybe she forgot that she was in her forties and that child bearing should’ve been left to the younger women who had a lot of elasticity in their bodies, who weren’t facing menopause, and who had loving husbands to hold their hands and help them through their labor with the information they learned in Lamaze classes.

It had been two hours since her water broke and left a trail of liquid streaking down each leg as if in a race to the finish line. She had to take another shower and then call an ambulance because there was no man in her life to whisk her away to the hospital, although the large pouch on her body that was carrying twins said somebody had stopped by and paid a visit. Yes, that was true, but she hadn’t a clue as to who her babies’ daddy was—Jefferson or Malik.

“Push,” Dr. Dixon ordered, her long sinewy-gloved fingers examining the cervix. “You’re almost there.”

Margo pushed and took several deep breaths.

Dr. Dixon twisted her head to the left, pushing a braid that had fallen from her meticulously wrapped bun away from her face. “Push again. The head is crowning.”

On command, Margo gave it all she had and pushed again.

“One more time,” Dr. Dixon said and added a little chuckle at the end. “You’re doing well.”

Margo held on to the bed rails, the sweat continuing to pour down her face and other parts of her body. “One for the Father, two for the Son, three for the oooly ghost,” Margo said as the pain hit hard, then gave her release in a matter of seconds.

“Congratulations, it’s a boy,” Dr. Dixon said, as the nurse cut the umbilical cord.

“Waa, waa,” came the healthy sound of the newcomer who was quickly whisked away to be cleaned.

“Margo, we’ve got one more. Let’s rock and roll, baby,” the doctor said.

Margo pushed down again and stopped, her chest rising and falling as she inhaled and exhaled. She opened her mouth to say something, then squirmed as another pain made her blow air. Then she let go. “All right now, you need to come on out of there so Momma can get some rest. Momma’s tired.”

“Come on, Margo,” Dr. Dixon admonished. “Give it all you’ve got, girl. It’s about to be over. Your baby’s twin wants access to the new world.”

“All right, I’m ready.”

“Here it comes. Yes, another baby boy!”

Margo’s body relaxed as she heard the squeal of another tiny voice. Minutes later, two nurses rushed in, each carrying what seemed to Margo to be gifts wrapped in thin, white blankets, bundled up as if they were about to travel to the arctic North. In turn, each nurse held the bundles of joy in front of Margo for her to view. They were beautiful with heads full of black, straight hair, wrapped in swaddling clothes like Jesus, and sucking on their fingers.

Margo beamed. She couldn’t tell who her boys looked like. They were angelic in every way, both getting ready to cry for mother’s milk. Margo closed her eyes, and it was Jefferson she saw—her beloved husband, her soon to be ex-husband, her former lover and friend. She batted her eyes, and there was Malik—her confidant, her shoulder to lean on when Jefferson was away in prison, the man she gave her body to when she thought her husband was being unfaithful . . . again.

The movie screen in her subconscious faded to black, and when she opened her eyes, there stood the nurses still holding her babies. “I can’t do this right now,” Margo said. “Give me some time.”

Excerpted from In My Rearview Mirror: A Novel by Suzetta Perkins
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