The veranda steps groaned as the movers dragged our things into our newly-purchased, sprawling, dilapidated house. I stood in the shade by the car, drained by the heat. My head throbbed, my feet ached, and I felt fat, sweaty, and resentful. The baby kicked, and I glared down at my distended stomach. I wished I was back home, with air conditioning and a cold cocktail.
John rushed back and forth, giving instructions and grinning like an idiot.
I took a long drink from my water bottle. It was blood-warm.
Motion fluttered in an upstairs window. A teenage girl with dark, elaborately curled hair frowned down at me. She was wearing a filmy, white dress that seemed to flow into the thin curtains. Her eyes met mine. She mouthed something–I’ve never been much of a lip reader–then she vanished.
Chills cut down my sweaty back, and I dropped my water bottle.
John was at my side in an instant. “What’s wrong, Donna?” he asked.
A moment ago, I would have given him a list. “N–Nothing,” I stammered. “Just my imagination playing tricks on me.”
He kissed my forehead and laid a hand over my belly. “Maybe you should sit down. I had them put your rocking chair on the porch. I’ll get you some more water.”
He filled my bottle from the tap. It was only a little cooler, and it tasted like iron.