Eating Your Vegetables: Behind the Lies!

March 1, 2011
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“Mrs. Stone?” the doctor inquired, gesturing to the examination room behind him. Olivia Stone looked up from her magazine and took another gigantic bite out of the celery stick she held in her hand. Yummy, she thought absently. She nodded to the doctor and stood, hand instinctively going to her ballooning belly. She was already four months along and gaining weight quickly. This was her second scheduled ultrasound.
This was becoming natural to her, lying on the high cot and lifting her shirt over her stomach. Her ivory skin was stressed from the baby growing beneath it, purple lines beginning to form as she grew bigger and bigger. The skin was shiny from the sudden weight gain the child had brought on. War wounds, she had called them. Dr. Fish brought out the cold jelly-like fluid and began to run it over her stomach. The strange noises began soon after.
Olivia took another massive bite of celery and the large, bulbous-headed, black and white baby on the monitor gave a shudder. Dr. Fish advised her to wait until after the appointment to eat, but she didn’t listen. Vegetables had been her craving since week two, and she had been eating them non-stop, along with oranges and cheese doodles. Her husband had been to the store six times in this week alone, and it was only Wednesday. Her cravings became stranger and stranger, whether it be celery and cheese doodles in ranch dressing, or oranges and broccoli in fondue, but if she was happy, who was her husband to say that she couldn’t eat what she wanted when she was eating for two.
The whooshing sound ended when Dr. Fish ran out of the jelly, signifying that she could go home. It was just as well that she did; she was out of celery. Fish handed her the small photo of her baby and she left the office in a hurry. She had some trouble getting into her car, but, after a moment of adjustment, she was able to get behind the wheel. The drive home took a half hour.
Over the course of the next five months she continued her habit of eating vegetables. In fact, it was practically all she ever ate, beside the oranges and cheese doodles. Her husband, Jim, watched from the sidelines, hoping that no complications came from her unusual eating habits. It was a hot August afternoon when Olivia went into labor. Things took a turn for the unusual.
“Jim,” she gasped, feeling the pain tear through her. He looked up at her to see her leaning against the front door, bag in once hand, carrot in the other. He stared, dumbfounded, until she finally added, “It’s time.”
He jumped out of his seat on the couch to run toward the door. The car keys jingled in his pocket as he took off in a dead sprint toward the car. Olivia waddled slowly behind him. She sat in the passenger’s seat, practicing her even breathing exercises; in, in, out, in, in, out, in, in, out…. She barely had the door closed when he started speeding down the road.
“Oh my God,” Jim screamed desperately. “What do we do?! We’re not gonna make it to the hospital! My baby is gonna be born in my car! Olivia! Olivia!”
“Shut up and drive, Jim!” she ordered before spewing out a string of profanity.
Sure enough, eventually, they did make it to the hospital before the baby came. Olivia was dragged away in a wheelchair while Jim jogged frantically behind them. They were situated in a small room, where things were far from quiet, and waited out the twelve hours of labor with much crying, cursing, and screaming. It was in the early hours of the morning when the doctors came to deliver the baby. The sight was grueling for Jim; he felt faint.
There was a baby’s cry that pierced the short silence between Olivia’s cries and the doctor’s orders as they all waited anxiously to hear that sound. The doctor turned with the small creature in his arms and placed it in the plastic tub behind him. He wrapped it up while its mother tried to catch her breath, to no avail. The baby let out a few successful shrieks before calming down enough to stay quiet. It was then that she was passed to her father.
The child’s skin was a gorgeous shade of emerald green, like broccoli stalks or the leaf atop a carrot’s head. The small, thin patch of hair she had was as orange as a cheese doodle. There was a light flush of color in her cheeks that showed how traumatic this whole experience had been for her. Her eyes cracked open to reveal jade green irises that sparkled with light and saw everything. She was beautiful, and everyone in that room knew it.
“Jim,” Olivia gasped. “Jim, show me my baby.”
Jim’s awestruck eyes reluctantly tore themselves away from his magnificent, green daughter to look his wife in the face.
“She’s beautiful, Olive, you have gotta see her,” he vowed, handing the small bundle of blankets to her. She held her baby close to her heart.
“Oh, Jim, she is. She’s gorgeous. And she’s the most perfect color I’ve ever seen,” she crooned.
“She looks like your mother,” Jim laughed, stroking her orange hair. “Do you have any names in mind?”
Olivia thought for a moment before explaining, “Yes, I think we should name her Rina.”
“Why do you want to name her Rina?”
“It means vegetable.”
It was sixteen years later that Rina’s home life took a turn for the worst. She was at school for the day while her parents sat home, Olivia leaning over the coffee table, reading the mail, and Jim in the garage, working on whatever it is he did in his spare time. Olivia’s shaking hands tried desperately to hold onto the letter she had just picked up. The return address read, FLORA HIGGENBOTTOM. She recognized that name from her early years of marriage when she had come across the handsome man who had come to her while her new husband was out of town on business.
Contrary to what you may think, he was Flora, no matter how feminine the name sounded. Olivia shuddered anxiously and tore the envelope open. The elegant piece of parchment fell out onto the polished mahogany table and opened up to reveal a swirly calligraphy. Reluctantly she picked up the paper and began to read. Each word was like an icicle to her heart.
My dearest Olivia,
Due to recent developments, I have been informed of the beautiful baby you gave birth to sixteen years ago. You know as well as I that vegetable would not have made your daughter have a different skin color than either you or your husband. It is for this reason that I am writing to tell you that I will be coming around your home within the week to see my daughter. You can’t hide her from me forever.
Generally happy to see you again,
Olivia jumped up from her chair and ran to get Jim in the garage. He jerked up from his fascination with the saw he was using to look her in the face. She had to tell him. “Jim,” she gasped. “A man is coming to the house! He thinks he is Rina’s father.”
He dropped a hammer and it fell with a clank to the floor. “You were unfaithful?”
“Of course not, Jim!” she yelled.
“Then why does he think that he is Rina’s father?”
“He says it’s impossible for her to be so beautiful from vegetables and cheese doodles!”
“Well he is wrong!”
“Why does he think that he would be a possible candidate?”
“Because, Jim, he’s a man-fairy!”
“Those damn man-fairies! They’ve always been home wreckers!”
The door upstairs slammed against the door when it opened. Olivia and Jim ran up the stairs to find their daughter and explain to her what was going on. Thankfully, today she had not brought home anyone from school. It was better that way; they didn’t want to embarrass her in front of anyone. She was still in her silver cheerleading uniform when they reached her.
Rina’s life after birth had been much the same as any of her friends. She learned to ride a bike, to read and write, she joined cheerleading like all of the other girls, and eventually started going out with the football team’s quarterback in High School. Her orange hair grew long and her green skin was flawless. She knew better than anyone else how much other people wished they were her. Her one flaw and secret:
Her name meant vegetable; whose parents could be that cruel?
“Rina!” Olivia called. It was too late; there was a knock on the door, signaling that the man-fairy had arrived. They decided to let him in quickly, so the neighbors wouldn’t talk about how the Stones had invited a man-fairy, of all people to come to their home. It was a horrible thought! Only the most adulterous and scheming of people would invite a man-fairy to their home.
The man outside was short, perhaps 5’0, with dark, forest green skin and vibrant, red hair. He wore a set of over-sized overalls and flip flops that were three sizes too big. Protruding from his back was a pair of glittery, hot pink wings. They fluttered in the tension and got stuck in the door on the way into the house. He stared at Olivia in anger.
“How dare you, Olly! You couldn’t even tell me that I had a daughter! How did you think I felt when I learned it from someone else?”
“She’s not yours, Flora,” Olivia clarified.
“Not mine? Look at her! She’s the most gorgeous creature I’ve ever seen! She’s much too gorgeous to be his! I’m positive she’s mine.”
“Flora, I want you to listen carefully,” Olivia said as if speaking to a mental patient. Her next words were rushed, as if she was embarrassed to be saying them:
“We didn’t even have sex.”

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