Fiction Tuesday: Stranger Danger

It was 7:30 on Sunday evening and there I was at the kitchen sink trying to distract myself from the view outside. The snow was coming down hard. I had this feeling of living inside a snow globe which had been shaken vigorously just now. Except after twelve hours, the magic was long-lost on me and the big, fat snow flakes had yet to settle outside.

The phone finally rang and I answered  with haste so as not to wake up the baby. “I am downstairs,” said the voice with surprising indifference and calm. “I’ll be right there” I replied while putting on my boots, scarf, hat, and coat with as much haste as a 7-month pregnant belly would allow me to muster.

I carefully flew down the three stories of stairs and pulled out the baby stroller I had put up for sale on Craigslist. “Here, I kept it inside so it wouldn’t get covered with snow. It is pretty bad out here today.”

“Yeah” said the lady who looked like a reverse hunchback except the hump in the front was a 9-month old baby with a bunch of blankets  on her. She started undoing the baby-carrier on her chest as I opened the stroller and explained all the features with a voice tinged with some nervousness and guilty.

As she put the baby in the seat, I wondered how desperate one had to be for a stroller to be out on such a night with a baby; an infant really! The baby who was now awake had pretty eyes and curly hair hanging from the sides of her hat. The woman had no hat. I offered her mine but she refused.

In a few minutes, I had done all I could to make sure that the jumble of blankets was covering her child to keep out the snow. She handed me a bunch of bills and I waived it off. She thanked me and walked away into the falling snow.

I fell asleep with the TV tuned to the news that night. When I woke up, the snow had finally stopped falling.

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