His face will forever haunt me. The sunken cheeks. The bags under his eyes. Skin so pale, I could see the web of veins on his visage.
“Congratulations,” the normally upbeat Starbucks barista muttered, my tall latte practically falling from his hands onto the counter. “Heard you say you’re pregnant. Have a four-week-old at home, myself.”
“That’s wonderful,” I exclaimed, thrilled to have an opportunity to talk about all things baby. “Boy or a girl?”
“Girl,” he yawned.
“That’s what we’re having!” I squealed. His lips attempted to move upward.
I nodded awkwardly. Not the excited new daddy/mommy-to-be chatter I was expecting. In fact, his eyes appeared to be disappearing under increasingly heavy eyelids. Lifting the skim milk had robbed him of every ounce of his will to stay awake.
“So… it’s rough, huh? The first month?”
Finally. He perked up. Relieved that someone understood — or, at least, had bothered to ask.
I took a good, hard look at his fatigue-ravaged face. I knew what I had to do. I strode out of the store, walking past the Target where I’d planned to return a god-awful, impulse-buy shirt and continued all the way home, brushing past my computer, past the brownies in the pantry calling my name, to finally reach the bedroom… where I promptly took a long, quiet mid-morning NAP.
Might as well enjoy the luxury while I can. Nay, it is my DUTY to do so.