The woman yanked the pacifier out of the baby’s mouth and stomped to the back door in her orthopedic, soft-soled shoes. She unlocked the door’s double lock with two clicks; the door flew open, pushed by an invisible gust of wind that threatened to tousle the woman’s tightly permed hair. Touching the top of her curls with a hand, she confirmed that not a hair had moved. It was sprayed into an inflexible helmet of grey that matched her flinty personality.
She pulled her arm back like a quarterback and let it fly, sending the pacifier into the cool, dark air of the night. Spinning around on her heels, she turned back to her daughter and infant granddaughter.
“Don’t ever let me catch me you with something so foul and indecent in this house again.”
The door slammed shut with a bang. Stunned by the sudden loss of her pacifier, the baby sucked in at the air as though it was still in her mouth and finding nothing there, she screamed and began to cry. She turned red in the face as she continued to scream and big, wet tears streamed down her face, cutting a shining trail down each chubby cheek.
“Mother,” her daughter said in disbelief raising her voice over the screaming infant. “We just bought that for the baby.”
Dottie picked up her baby and rocked her back and forth, bringing the cries down to a whimper. Every cell in her body longed for rest and yet there was suddenly a new surge of energy driven out of anger towards her mother.
The front door opened and Bobby walked in with the suitcases.
“I parked the car on the side of the road…” he started and stopped. His mother-in-law stood in front of the back door with flashing eyes and flared nostrils. He was convinced that she was a dragon in a past life.
“What’s wrong with the baby?” he asked his wife, suspicious that his mother-in-law was somehow behind the tears of his new daughter.
“Ahem,” his mother-in-law cleared her throat. “Your daughter is starving and your wife is trying to trick her with that obscene rubber nipple that I took the liberty of disposing of while you were parking the car.”
Bouncing the baby in her arms, Dottie felt a swell of emotion, like an earthquake triggering a tsunami. She was fierce in her love of her daughter and growing in her confidence as a mother. Finally, it was her time.
She drew herself up to her full height of five feet and two inches, took a deep breath and turned to her husband, “Bobby, please help me with the baby carrier and bag. We aren’t staying here tonight.”
Or at least, that’s what she wished she could have said, if they had any other place to go.