Word Count 499
Perfect Harmony, Part Two: Elodie’s Beginning
By Josh McMullen
Elodie had even come into this world quietly, sixteen years earlier. Though, for a baby girl who was only three and a half minutes old, quiet isn’t necessarily a good thing.
All through her mother’s pregnancy, Elodie’s father, an aficionado of the piano by night, and a jazz pianist by day, played the great piano players of the past and the future. From Beethoven to Ray Charles, the not-yet-born Elodie (her parents had already picked it out after the first ultrasound) heard them all through some headphones lovingly fitted onto her mother’s stomach.
At just about three in the morning on an unusually cold day in August, the contractions began, waking both of them up at the same time, because in the fog of pain, her mother had kicked her husband. Elodie was ready to come into the world. Doing at least 150 miles an hour, they made it to the hospital in world-record time.
However, once at the hospital, nothing went smoothly. After about ten hours of labor, Elodie still refused to come out, requiring a C-section. When they finally got her out, all Elodie could manage was a barely audible mewl.
Elodie remembered floating over the whole thing. She hovered over the whole thing as they brought in the crash cart, her body laying on the table, purple and barely moving. Her mother was too tired to show much concern, and her father had to be escorted out of the room. While she floated over everyone, she remembered a staircase opening up in front of her, as if extending to her an opportunity to return to heaven, maybe start over somewhere else.
Elodie remembered looking at her possible mother. She was so excited to meet her little bundle of joy, that she had named her once she saw her beautiful face, residing just where she couldn’t see, but medical science could show her. Her father looked on that day, remarking on how her fingers were the exact length as Stevie Wonder’s.
Despite all that, the choice was hers to make. Her time in the liminal state was short and precious. If she didn’t decide quickly, the choice would be made for her. She looked at her mother once again, now braced for the gargantuan impact that now seemed imminent. Even though she was now just ten minutes old, she remembered deciding she could not go back to heaven with this weighing on her all the way up. She remembers closing her eyes, and in the next second, letting out the biggest scream as the doctors heaved a sigh of relief.
They wrapped Elodie up in a blanket with her name, and began writing her vital information down: six pounds, two ounces, 20.3 inches, and a birthmark on her shoulder in the shape of a perfect star. Later, as Elodie’s mother held her in her arms, she kissed the top of her head (which already had a shock of black hair), relieved that her wealth had finally arrived.