Far From Perfect Antiseptic walls rose from a tile floor. White cabinets hung pure and bland. Acoustic panels sucked the noise from the room. In the corner, the ultrasound machine waited for me. I lay on the exam table counting my breaths. Tayla held my hand. No voice. No faces. No Gid. The tech did her thing. My hands shook. I nearly puked. “It’s not going to hurt,” she said. Her hands were warm and strong when they lifted my shirt. It was hard to tell if my belly was bigger, rounder than yesterday or last week. I closed my eyes and waited. “I’m right here,” Tayla said. “That’s the heartbeat,” she said. A rapid flutter on the screen echoed the high pitched thunder from the speakers. “Jesus,” Tayla said. I closed my eyes. I didn’t want to see the heartbeat. I didn’t want to hear it. This wasn’t possible. “A miracle,” the tech said, smiling like she knew things. “You don’t know,” Tayla said, a little edgy. The tech frowned for a moment but said nothing. “There’s a hand,” she said. I turned away. “Are you okay?” the tech asked. Tears soaked into the paper under my shoulders. “She’s just emotional,” Tayla said. Doubt shaded the tech’s face. “Are you sure?” she asked. Tayla’s voice got all protective. “This isn’t easy,” she said. The tech said nothing for a while. “It’s okay,” Tayla said. “It’s real,” I said.
“I know.” Her fingers squeezed mine. “Look,” she said. When I opened my eyes, the tech stared at me, concerned, a little scared maybe. “Don’t ask,” I said. For a moment, I thought she was going to ignore me and ask anyway but then she nodded. “Sorry,” she said. “It’s okay.” She moved from hand to head, from head to spine. “Do you want know the sex?” she asked. “His name is Adam,” Gid said out of nowhere. “It’s a boy,” I said. She looked startled and the conviction in my voice. “How do you know?” Tayla asked. I looked at her, the answer in my eyes. “Oh,” she said. “Well,” the tech said, too cheerful. “Everything looks good.” “Really?” I asked. “Perfect,” she said. I shook my head. “I’m seventeen,” I said. “This is far from perfect.”