Pete was bleached.
His skin was bleached.
His hair was bleached.
His nail polish was bleached.
Everything about him was bleached white.
Even his blood.
He read it over.
over and over and over and over and over over over over over over
The words remained the same. Yet, he couldn’t stop reading it. Even when his eyes teared up. Even when his tears fell and water-stained the paper. He couldn’t stop reading it.
“Hey.” Jim poked his head into the living room. “Supper’s ready! You…Pete?”
He couldn’t look away from it.
“Pete?” Jim walked over to him. “Didn’t you hear me? I said—-”
Jim stopped. “What?”
“The results came back.” Pete moved his finger across the murderous word. “And it says it. It says Positive. Capital letter. Positive.”
Jim said nothing.
More tears rained on the paper.
Marissa tried at least fifteen different test strips. She went to her doctor and had bloodwork done.
The results didn’t change one bit.
She looked at the pink line on the latest test strip.
Joy and grief battled within her.
“It’s positive, Carlos. Do you see it?” She laughed and her tears fell. “It’s positive.”
“Positive. Positive. It’s Positive. I’m Positive.” Pete sank down to his knees. “Funny, isn’t it? I’m Positive, but I’m negative. I’m negative about being Positive. I—” He pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes as he broke down.
Jim rushed to his side and embraced him.
Pete pushed him away. “Don’t touch me. I’m Positive! Don’t you…don’t…I don’t…I—”
“Shh.” Jim hugged him. “Positive or Negative, I got you.”
Pete cried into Jim’s shirt.
Jim hugged him tighter. “I got you.”
“Carlos.” Marissa curled her hand around the wedding ring hanging on her necklace chain. “I’m positive. We did it. We’re going to have a baby.”
I wish you were here with me.
“I’m so glad you’re here with me.” Pete said as Jim rubbed his back.
“I won’t leave you. No matter what happens.” Jim kissed his head. “I’m here.”
“Do you mean it?”
Jim kissed the other side of his head and smiled into his hair. “I’m positive.”