GOOD TIMES TO COME Jan held her breath as she waited. “Time’s up,” she said to herself. And there it was - or wasn’t, in this case. No pink lines. No line at all, really. “Ah, well,” again Jan was talking to herself, as she tossed the test strip into the bin and reached for the phone to make an appointment. In the waiting room, Jan looked with despair at the magazines. Years out of date, she moaned inwardly, and every one full of pictures of film stars and half-forgotten celebrities with their babies and toddlers. There was no escape. She flipped through other magazines and saw photos of smiling sports personalities showing off the latest additions to their families. Magazines full of happy baby photos seemed to be the only available reading material in the doctor’s waiting room. Why, oh why didn’t I bring along a book to read, she chastised herself as she decided against flicking through magazines and stared into space instead. But, as always, the topic of babies crept into her thoughts. Was it the smiling baby portrait blu-tacked to the wall, extolling the benefits of immunisation, or was it just Jan’s sensitivity to the topic? Am I condemned to forever think only of offspring, she wondered, almost aloud. Jan had to admit that babies had been the main subject of her thoughts for years. In fact, ever since she and Max were first married. Young and all as they were, Jan had been eager to have a house full of little children to love and cherish. She had always been a sucker for those ads on TV, showing gurgling babies and beaming mothers. In those early days, many an idle moment had been taken up by Jan’s fantasies of herself with beautiful, perfectly behaved babies and children. Children wearing the sweetest, cutest smiles and even cuter clothes. Doesn’t always work like it does on the telly, she mused, with a small sigh. The rosy glow of those first years had certainly faded a little for Jan and Max. But they still had their plans and hopes. Or did they? Jan’s mind went back to three days ago. Something had given her the distinct feeling that Max had not been impressed when she told him that she thought she might be pregnant. Wasn’t he supposed to be thrilled? She wondered. Thoughts of babies and Max tumbled around in her head. Max was a wonderful husband. I shouldn’t take him for granted, she thought, and vowed to be more considerate towards his feelings in the future. Jan gazed around the waiting room. She had been here a few times lately. The other patients, as usual, looked a sombre lot. A couple of them looked positively ill. I suppose that’s why they’re here, Jan smiled at her realisation of the obvious. But, look at me, her thoughts continued, I’m not ill. Far from it. And I have everything in the world to make me happy. Here I am, selfishly taking up the good doctor’s time………….Oh, hurry up, Doctor Wilson, surely it’s my turn next! She looked at the baby stroller parked near the receptionist’s desk. She was grateful that the baby in it was asleep. Or, at least, just being quiet, anyway. She didn’t care which. My poor mind, thought Jan, always pre-occupied with babies and pregnancy. Maybe it’s time I had more positive thoughts about life’s other delights - and concerns. Well, what other things did life have to offer? Jan had to concentrate to guide her thoughts in new directions. She began to conjure up all sorts of activities. She mentally pursued holidays, outings and picnics. She became more creative in her imaginings. She even pictured herself undertaking more studies. Perhaps I could eventually finish my degree one day, she pondered. Visions of university life and lecture theatres began to crowd her mind. Could I? she wondered. Jan mentally sorted through likely subjects for future study. She visualised a turning point in her life, picturing herself as a successful professional woman. I’ll have to be strong, affirmed Jan. No baby notions crowding out these more meaningful pursuits! Thoughts of possible new and exciting jobs were interrupted by Doctor Wilson’s voice: “Jan, I’ll see you, now.” She bustled herself into the doctor’s room. Suddenly back to earth, Jan remembered why she was there, as the good doctor gently asked what he could do for her. “Well, doctor, I thought I was pregnant, but I’m not,” Jan blurted out. “OK, then, Jan, if it seems like it’s not to be this time, perhaps there’ll be another time?” the doctor inquired quietly. “No, I don’t think so,” said Jan. “I’ve got other plans in mind. I’ve decided it’s about time I realised that pregnancy and babies are not goals to be pursued forever.” She gave a little laugh. “Could you write me a prescription for that latest pill, please?” A short while later, Jan left Doctor Wilson. Her heart gave a little joyful leap as she slipped the scrip into her hand bag. She paused by the reception desk. “Come on, William,” she said to the baby in the stroller. “We’d better hurry along to pre-school to pick up the twins. I want them to have a little rest before Susie and James get home from school. Then I’m going to make a special dinner for Daddy.”
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