Short Stories, Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction

Earthquake Tremors 

Response to word prompt – Write about an earthquake you know about. 

By Ami (Gypsie) Offenbacher-Ferris 

My assignment this month is to write about the biggest earthquake I have ever heard of. Naturally, my mind went back to San Francisco, October 17, 1989 and the Loma Prieta earthquake.  My husband and I, with our three month old daughter, were right in the center of all that chaos only two weeks before. A mere three weeks prior to that disastrous event, my husband met his three month old daughter for the very first time. 

My daughters father, my husband, had been committed to a well-known alcohol rehabilitation clinic for six months. He missed the birth of our daughter. He missed me taking her home for the first time.  He missed the sudden influx of those hormone triggering baby scents, baby lotion, newborn aromas and brand-new plastique’s. Plastic baby tub, plastic pacifiers, plastic mobiles and even the unusual and still as yet unidentifiable odor a carton of Pampers emits when first opened. 

The day I presented her to him and he barely took notice, of either of us, my Earth shook. Less than a week later we were flying cross country for one of his work events. He flew first class as his fair was comped. My tiny daughter and I fly coach. I tried not to feel less than by being regulated to the back of the bus, but I did. I tried not to feel sorry for myself as I sat upon my seventeen episiotomy stitches and nursed my infant daughter hour upon hour to help regulate her ears so she would not be in pain and thus, not cry the entire flight from Georgia to California. But I did. My earth shook where upon exiting the plane toting a baby, baby bag and massive car seat; he was no where to be found. I handed the retrieval ticket to the waiting attendant, picked up the brand new stroller complete with purse, bag and drink holder, spent ten minutes trying to figure out how to secure the new car seat into the new stroller before lumbering out of the way of all the fast-paced business people in their starched suits and shiny shoes, carrying their single briefcase so smartly at their sides. 

Finally securing the car seat to the stroller, I placed my little bundle of pink ruffled baby into it. Another ten minutes it took to figure out the fasteners and quick-release fastening system which, I discovered was not really quick at all. The moment the last buckle clicked home, my precious child opened her mouth and I swear I thought she’d become possessed.

Out of her mouth spewed arcs of sour-smelling, stomach churning breast milk. It spewed and spewed. She became the Mt. Iwo Jima of projectile vomiting. Being a new mother, I was certain my baby girl was about to expire, but; after emptying her stomach all over my black stretchy pants and nursing blouse, she was a happy little clam.

It was at that moment that my husband walked over with this very effeminate, extremely well dressed man. I calculated his shoes could’ve paid for a brand new living room set plus accessories for us! He was smiling, gracious and oh so polite; extending his hand to shake before thinking better of it. 

“What an adorable baby girl you have,” said the vice-chancellor of the most prestigious medical universities in England. He raised his eyes to scan me from head to toe. 

“Oh my! You do not travel well do you love?” He said softly, backing away to access the entire damaged beyond repair package that was me, in front of him. My Earth shook, slight tremors only, but precursors of what was to come.