Text Box: Third Quarter 2015 ó First Place


Three Minutes by Emma J Myatt






























Inside these three minutes a life is suspended. The plastic stick sits on the windowsill and I sit on the other side of the room. Iím superstitious; if I sit next to it thereíll only be one line. If I donít sit next to it, two lines will appear. I fight with myself to sit still.

Itís a risk, all of this. Andy doesnít know. Thereís no limit to what he doesnít know, at the moment. But my feelings of remorse are pushed down by the much more burning desire inside me: to have a baby. If there are two lines, Iíll deal with all of it then. If thereís one line, nobody gets hurt, nobody needs to know.

I think of all the ethical codes Iíve broken, that my friend Kelly has broken. Sheís the one who told me the results first, sheís the one who will sit with us tomorrow in the clinic, and lie, saying that Andyís sperm count was fine. Weíre doing him a favour, I keep telling myself. Knowing heís infertile would devastate him because all he wants is to be a father. The plan was mine and Iím helping him. Iím preventing his depression getting any worse. If he knew the truth, it could kill him, I tell myself.

This way, if there are two lines, he gets to be a dad. If thereís one line, we need to wait a little longer but heíll still get to be a dad, Iíll just need to make another plan. Itís a win-win. A no-brainer.

It took a while to find someone who looked like him. Kelly covered for me; the nights out were about her celebrating a promotion, her birthday, a random girlsí night just because. And all the while, I was hunting. Hunting for an Andy lookalike.† When I found one, it was a cinch. I know my cycle well, the timing was just right and letís face it, men are easy. When I said I wanted a no strings attached one night stand, he practically fell at my feet. And that was that, done and dusted, the seed planted, just like that song.

Three minutes is up. I walk towards the windowsill as slowly as I can bear.

There are two lines.

My tears are of pure joy. I jump in the air, dance around the flat, whoop aloud my success. I dash to the phone to call Andy, to tell him what heís been waiting to hear for the past year.

As I reach it, it rings. I answer, the happiness in my heart cut short by Kellyís tone.

ĎIím sorry,í sheís saying. ĎThey sent a letter. Itís this new, automated system. It began yesterday. Supposed to save appointments. Heíll receive it this morning. Iím so sorry. You better get to him, quick. Heíll be in pieces.í

I hang up. Immediately, it rings. I see from the caller ID that itís Andy. I take a deep breath, and pick it up.

Second Place: The Wedding

Third Place: Temper and Tenacity