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At the end of the school year, I challenged some of my 8th graders to help me with some columns over the summer. They gave me the first and last lines of a potential fictional short story. My task was to take those lines and write the middle. I was given seven ideas from the kids, so that’s the plan for the foreseeable future! This week’s lines were provided by Grace Tufte.

“May the Fourth be with you!” exclaimed the doctor.

Missy looked at him, a strange look on her face. “Excuse me?” she said. “What does that mean?”

The doctor chuckled. “Your due date is May 4,” he said. “Some of us refer to that as Star Wars Day. You know? May the Force be with you…May the Fourth?”

Missy rolled her eyes. Just her luck to have some sci-fi geek for a doctor. “Heh, yeah, sure,” she responded. After going through some paperwork to set up some future appointments, she left the clinic. This would be her second child, so she knew the ropes of pregnancy and left most of the literature the doctor had offered her sitting on a waiting room table.

As fall changed to winter, Missy progressed through the stages of pregnancy quite nicely. She decided that being pregnant in the winter was preferable to a summertime pregnancy. At least now when she got overheated, the temperature outside would counteract it instead of adding to it like being pregnant and outside in the middle of August.

The check-ups with that weird doctor all proved to be routine. Still, he kept making references to that Star Wars Day that she was due on. This was really annoying. It’s not like Missy had never heard of Star Wars, but why would she waste her time watching a bunch of fake aliens running around in outer space and shooting at each other? She really enjoyed sports and watched as much volleyball and softball as she could on the various ESPN networks. That was real life, not all that make-believe junk.

The new life inside her was quite active. Missy felt kicks all the time; this child might really test her if he or she was this active once born. Her son had been much more relaxed from the get-go, but child number two was going to be more of a struggle, she was sure. Still, an active baby was a healthy baby, and Missy was content to endure the kicking. Every doctor visit showed very normal results from any testing, and the ultrasound images, though not showing the gender of the baby, were hanging by her bathroom mirror.

Once the March visit to her doctor rolled around, Missy was starting to get uncomfortable. She had two months left and could feel the changing seasons outside in her joints. It looked to be an early spring, with the snow cover quickly disappearing. Though everyone knew snow would likely show up once or twice more, the temperatures signaled that it wouldn’t last long if or when it did.

Missy stepped through some slush in the parking lot and reminded herself, on the way to the front desk of the clinic, that she would just continue to ignore the inevitable Star Wars reference. It really grated on her at this point, but she just had to muster through a few more of them. God forbid if this child would actually be born on May 4!

Sure enough, since it was March 4, the doctor asked if her countdown to Star Wars Day, or maybe even the birth of her child, was underway. Her feet wet from the slush, Missy had finally had it. “Enough!” she shouted. “I don’t care one whit about Star Wars or some stupid day dedicated to a bunch of geeks! Drop it, would you?”

The doctor was taken aback. “No need to be stentorophonic,” he said sheepishly. “Sorry, just trying to inject a little humor into what can be a stressful time.” The appointment finished without further incident and Missy trudged back to her car.

Once there, she started to feel bad about yelling at the doctor. Before heading home, she stopped at the video store and rented the original trilogy of Star Wars movies. “Might as well watch them,” she thought to herself. She sat in front of the television the rest of the day, watching Luke Skywalker save the galaxy from the evil Empire and Darth Vader.

“Ugh,” she thought to herself. “What does anyone see in these movies?” Her unborn child seemed to agree as the kicking resumed with a passion.

Over the course of the next month, Missy started to feel worse and worse. When she arrived for an appointment on April 5, the doctor was concerned about her high blood pressure and the baby’s vital signs. “When did this begin?” he asked.

Missy thought back. It all linked back to watching those movies, but she didn’t want to tell him that. After some observation, the doctor decided the baby was in danger, so he called for an emergency C-section. Missy was frightened but also relieved that her misery of the last month would soon be over.

When she was handed her new daughter, healthy as could be, Missy smiled. Maybe watching those wretched movies had made this little girl want to avoid, at all costs, being associated with Star Wars in any way, so she made sure she’d enter the world plenty early. And that is why Grace was born on April 5!

 

Word of the Week: This week’s word is stentorophonic, which mean speaking very loudly, as in, “The stentorophonic visitor in the hospital was so bothersome that he was asked to leave.” Impress your friends and confuse your enemies!

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