Family Day

Phoebe stretched across the examining table. She waited for the nausea, the fury of its layers, to unwind and sweep her body. When it was over, she retied the plastic belt from the green paper robe and pushed a new mint back and forth with the tip of her tongue. She blinked her moist eyes several times, and resumed her study of the paintings on the flesh-colored wall. In the first painting, a cheerful, round clown danced a high-step jig. He held opened a yellow umbrella high over his head. The same clown reappeared, leaning on the umbrella, his smile turned to a contagious frown. Phoebe kept her thoughts deliberately blank, but now and again she turned to John; she suspected he wanted to be a father more than he cared to admit. She bit down on the mint, instantly shattering it into sharp little pieces.

Excerpted from Family Day by Rachel Dangermond
Copyright ©1998 by Rachel Dangermond