The sky outside is pink from the snow falling from the night sky. The halls are full of doctors passing through to different rooms, but it’s still considerably quiet in the hospital.
A woman in a beige wool coat and red curly hair wet from the falling snow, Jennifer, is standing front of a window looking into a room. She doesn’t move, she just stands there in awe of what it’s in front of her.
Moments later, a man in a black trench coat and dreadlocks, Milo, walks towards Jennifer. When he reaches her, he puts a hand on her shoulder. She looks back at Milo, first a little startled but once she realizes who it is, she’s relaxed. Milo smiles at Jennifer and stands next to her. He looks at the window into the room full of newborn babies. They instantly find the one named “Dahlia Kamalani”.
Milo: She’s really pretty.
Jennifer: *smiles* Very pretty.
Jennifer looks intently at the newborn baby.
Jennifer: Rosie told me that Micah named her.
Milo: *interested* Really? I didn’t think he would, considering the circumstances.
Jennifer: She said that she had been hearing Micah call her Dahlia for months. When she asked him how he came up with the name. He told her the story I used to read him when he was kid; “Dahlia the Duckling”. The story about the duckling that felt like she didn’t belong but in the end she embraces her differences and is still able to have the other animals in the lake love her for who she was, not how she looked. *nostalgic* God, he used to love that story.
Milo takes his arm and wraps it around Jennifer for comfort. She takes a deep breath to control her watery eyes.
Milo: Maybe he’ll read it to Dahlia when she gets a little older.
Jennifer smiles at the thought. Milo takes in a deep breath.
Milo: The more than Micah grows up, the more I see how much he takes after you.
Jennifer looks at Milo, wondering what he meant by that.
Jennifer: If you mean his rebellious teenage years when we constantly held our breath every time his school called, then I think we established that already.
Milo: I mean, you’re not wrong…
Jennifer nudges Milo, he laughs.
Milo: Although he got his rebellious nature from you, I think he got more than just that.
Jennifer: Like what?
Milo looks down at Jennifer, and then back into the nursery.
Milo: He took Dahlia in as his own, the same way you took Milo in.
Jennifer stands there in deep thought. She remembers when her and Milo were teenagers themselves, Milo just had his son, Milo Jr, and the unfortunate events of his girlfriend passing away put him in the toughest place possible. Jennifer remembers the tiredness and the complete defeat in his eyes when he showed up on her doorstep with Milo Jr in a carrier, a backpack, and a suitcase. Thankfully her family was understanding for taking in Milo when he needed the help the most, and something just instantly clicked with her and Milo Jr. She was never maternal, but the way she cared for Milo Jr and helped Milo take care of him made it feel like it was something she was always meant to do. She never wanted to replace Milo Jr’s mother, but she wanted to be a person in his life that he can go to when things got shaky or when his father was being too tough on him.
In a sense, she feels like she treats Micah, her first biological child, the same way Milo treated his firstborn: over-protective, a little disapproving at times, and worrisome. Jennifer is constantly worrying about the decisions Micah make or the things he does as he gets older. At first, she was completely against this idea that Micah will step in and help Rosie take care of her baby when it wasn’t even his to take care of. Seeing Micah become the man that he is today and not the little boy that clung onto her every time she took him to school, makes her proud but also sullen.
Jennifer: There was something about Milo that was easy to help care of. Of course, I did it because you were my best friend; I’d do anything for you.
Milo: I mean, Micah sees the same in Rosie, don’t you think? I mean, why else would our 24-year-old son take in a child that is not his if he didn’t see Rosie the way you saw me?
Jennifer looks at Milo, uneasy.
Jennifer: You think she loves him, Mi?
Milo is a little taken back from the question.
Milo: I don’t think that baby’s last name would be his if she didn’t, babe. But I know you already know that. You’re asking because he’s your firstborn, and you worry about him.
Jennifer: *noticeably relieved* I know I wasn’t like this with Milo, and I mean I worried about him at Micah’s age and everything, and I worry about the girls, but… Micah is just…
Milo: Micah is different, Pep. He always will be. He’s your first born, your rainbow baby. Practically your twin.
Jennifer: Were you this way with Milo?
Milo: *obvious* Oh my god, babe, you know how stressed I was with Milo when we found out Sophia was pregnant with Summer. You went through it with me.
Jennifer: I know, I know but honestly… *looks at Milo* does this feeling ever go away?
Milo: Sadly, it doesn’t. Firstborns will be the reason parents will prematurely go gray. Don’t worry, when Dahlia grows up, Micah’s hair will be fully white by the time he’s in his mid-30’s… I’m surprised I’m not fully gray yet after the girls started to grow up.
Jennifer: *laughs* Reagan and Dylan just turned 18, Mi, they’ll give you something to go gray for.
Milo takes in a deep breath; he’s not ready to have that conversation.
Milo: I hope Micah knows what he’s getting himself into, but I know he wouldn’t do anything else different.
Both of their eyes meet the glass when they see Dahlia wake up from her sleep. She has the deepest honey brown eyes, and already a head of mousey brown curly hair. She looks exactly like Rosie; they could even be twins. Jennifer smiles at the cooing baby through the glass window. Milo hugs Jennifer.
Milo: Another grandchild to put on our list, babe… gosh, we are only turning 50 this year and we already have three grandchildren…
Jennifer laughs an authentic, hearty laugh, which still do this day makes Milo the happiest. They watch the nurse pick up Dahlia and rock her for a bit. There’s no denying the fact that they both already love Dahlia.
— The End —