MOTHER OF NONE
Our master bathroom is a nursery of minimalist design. The light gray rugs that lie in front of the tub and the sink are baby soft. The 12oz bottle of foaming soap with “baby, it’s cold outside” written on the sticker attached to the plastic fills the room with a soft coconut smell. Each time a set of hands is washed, the matching colored washcloths hold the scent in as if it were a mother caressing her newborn.
On the bathroom counter, there’s a six-pound mother of thousands plant, cascading its leaves over the pot, resting against the mirror. In a smaller planter on top of the back of the toilet is an infant seedling, nursed directly from its mother plant. It came last summer after nine months of the mother growing, becoming too big for its own pot, needing to be separated into two.
The toilet sits directly in front of the shower. The shower curtain, a mix of baby blue and pale gray decorative stripes, is just long enough to reach the bottom of the tub, hiding the bath from the casual viewer. There are exactly 43 stripes on the curtain, counted once every month for the last nine months it’s been there while a phone timer counts down from three minutes to zero. The stripes range in sizes—there’s 40 thin blue and gray ones between 3 thick dark gray lines, separating the stripes into trimesters.
When the timer goes off, the bathroom’s silence is bottled by disappointment and failure. The trash can fills with puddled-tears and snot-nosed tissue paper, covering the single-lined stick.
Under the sink, the pink and blue cardboard box with dwindling numbers of tests goes back to hiding behind the Angel Soft toilet paper pack. The porcelain-skinned baby shelters it from being seen each time a new roll is needed. In another month, the box will come back out, the stripes on the curtain will be recounted, and the mother of thousands’ seedling will grow bigger in its bassinet filled with soil and nutrients.
Kayla Jessop is an MFA candidate at Lindenwood University. Her nonfiction has been published in Tempo, Harpur Palate, Broad River Review, Lindenwood Review, Newfound, Coffin Bell Journal, and more. She does her best writing while sitting in coffee shops and daydreaming about possibilities. In her free time, when she’s not teaching, she enjoys cross-stitching and watching New Girl.