Child of the Heart — Flash Fiction by Toni Shiloh

Jennifer stared at the crib. A giraffe stood guard, leaning against the back corner of the crib. The empty crib. It had taken her three weeks to ready the room. The walls had been painted a pale yellow accented with a star wallpaper banner. It went with the sheets, pale yellow with stars all over it. The rocking chair situated in front of the window was empty. Waiting to welcome the weight of mother and child.

She shivered as doubt and worry swirled around her. Was she going crazy? Her mother and sister certainly thought so. She hadn’t planned on telling them about the nursery, but a surprise visit had let the cat out of the bag. Now they were probably at home planning an intervention for her. It wasn’t everyday an un-pregnant woman turned an empty room into a nursery.

But didn’t she hear His voice? Hadn’t He told her to ready the room? Wasn’t that the voice of God? She wiped at an errant tear. Didn’t the Word say, “My sheep hear my voice?” Maybe it was mistaken. No, of course not. Maybe she truly was crazy. Maybe the multiple miscarriages, infertility treatments, and general pokes and prodding had taken their toll. Maybe she was slipping away from reality. Her mother had cautioned her not to get her hopes up with adoption. Her sister told her to be content without children. But what did she know? She spat out kid after kid without working up a sweat.

Each and every time her sister wanted another child, she had one. It was crushing in its unfairness. But instead of letting the green-eyed monster rule her heart, she embraced the role of Yet one quiet moment with God had turned her world upside down. Had convinced her that God was about to grant her heart’s desire of motherhood. She heard His voice.

Didn’t she?

She shifted from foot to foot, trying to prevent them from going numb. What time was it? How long had she been standing there longing for a little one to settle in the ebony crib? Even the changing table seemed lonely. As if it knew it wasn’t able to perform its duties.

With a groan, she whirled away from the door. Ben would be home any moment. She couldn’t let the day pass the same as yesterday. He had been horrified to find out she had stared at the empty room all day. It was a miracle he had agreed to let her furnish it in the first place. She couldn’t let her obsession cause him to doubt her too.

At least she had started the crockpot. The aroma of cooked chicken in salsa greeted her as she entered the kitchen. Grabbing some plates, she began to prepare for dinner. Thankfully, her sister had left homemade tortillas when she came over earlier. They would be the perfect complement for the chicken. She took out sour cream, guacamole, cheese, tomatoes, and the rest of the fixings. Her mind operated on auto pilot, remembering the condiments she and Ben loved to top their chicken tortillas with.

A quick glance at the wall clock had her wondering if she had time to go back to the nursery before Ben came home. Ten minutes before he came home. She could be up and down again before he crossed the threshold. But what if she wasn’t? Pity had filled his warm brown eyes yesterday when he found her in front of the nursery. In fact, she had been startled by his presence, lost in her own thoughts. If she didn’t lose focus, five more minutes in the nursery was possible.

Bolstered by the thought, she headed back up the stairs. She paused at the threshold, wondering if she should go in. Maybe it wouldn’t look so lonely if she took up residence in the rocking chair.

No, she thought with a shake of her head. She had promised not to enter the room again until she held a little one in her arms. Until she was a mother. Standing there, she took in the extra details she had added. The star covered night light. The wipe warmer to keep little tushies warm. The star mobile hanging from the ceiling over the crib. Wouldn’t her child enjoy it? She had names ready to go. Abigail if it was a girl and Sebastian if it was a boy. It really didn’t matter if the baby was boy or girl, as long as the baby would be hers. Hers and Ben. A Jennings by love and later by court decree.

A honk of a horn startled her out of her reverie. With a quick glance at her watch, she grimaced. She’d been up there for ten minutes. Was it Ben who had honked? Hurrying down the stairs, she smoother her hands over her hair, hoping there would be no
flying strands to suggest she’d been upstairs and down in a hurry. She grabbed the doorknob and forced a grin on her face.

She’d show him she was fine. That she had done more than stare at the nursery like a woman slowly slipping from reality. With a deep breath, she opened the door…and froze.

“There’s Mommy.”

She gasped for air, stunned by the sight of Ben holding an infant wrapped in a blue blanket.

Her husband’s grin took over his face and love shined from his eyes. “Karen called me yesterday with the news. I wanted it to be a surprised.”

“He’s ours?” Her voice quivered.

“He’s ours. Mommy meet Sebastian Jennings, the child of our heart.”


toniToni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Before pursuing her dream as a writer,
Toni served in the United States Air Force. It was there she met her husband. After countless moves, they ended up in Virginia, where they are raising their two boys.

When she’s not typing in imagination land, Toni enjoys reading, playing video games, ​making jewelry, and spending time with
​her family.

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8 thoughts on “Child of the Heart — Flash Fiction by Toni Shiloh

  1. Wow, Toni! What a great little story! It hits a little close to home for me, I still worry that this little baby in my tummy now won’t make it. But you told this tale beautifully.

    Like

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