Secondhand Samaritan

Robert was between cigarettes on his park bench when a small, dark figure slumped through his peripheral vision and came to rest on the bench beside him. He turned to look. She was a diminutive woman, no taller than the tip of his chin, dark-haired and unavoidably pregnant. She exhaled sharply as she sat and he noticed her eyes flicker up at him from beneath short, choppy bangs. She turned away immediately as though frightened or embarrassed. Exotic and extremely pregnant, she was, worst of all, cute. Shame, he thought, her being pregnant. She’s a babe.

No sooner than he had finished saying “babe” to himself that he heard her gasp and utter a small cry; he remembered later his first thought being that she had somehow read his mind and was vocally expressing her indignation. He even flinched a bit, fully expecting a backhand slap or a purse to the head. But one look at the girl’s face made all that go away. It was obvious she was in pain. It was more obvious that she was completely terrified. Her eyes met his and held.

Out of instinct, Robert flashed a glance around and behind him to see if maybe she was looking at someone else. She wasn’t. “No,” he said to her deep, brown eyes. It was more a question than a statement. Her face contorted in pain and Robert cursed. For the second time in his short, stupid life, Robert found himself delivering some strange woman’s baby.