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September 2030


I'm going to the hospital. 

Marina's text wakes Javi, and he stares at it. It isn't dread in his heart, but something more ambivalent, unknown, that he's been feeling for months, since Marina told him she was pregnant.

He elbows Shoma, in the middle.

"What?" Shoma asks as Javi turns on the bedside lamp.

"Why is there light?" Yuzu mutters from the other side of Shoma.

"We have to go to the hospital. Marina is giving birth," Javi rises, but slowly, ever so slowly. 

Both Yuzu and Shoma jolt awake and yank clothes on. They are waiting for Javi, saying "Come on!"

"She won't want to be alone," Yuzu says. 

My water broke, Marina texts with a water emoji, which amuses Javi. 

We're coming, he texts back.

They catch one of the last metro trains, the car empty except for them, and Javi can feel his heart in his throat. 

As they walk to the hospital, and then to Marina's room, he knows his anxiety is not because he's afraid of being a good father. He, Marina, Yuzu, and Shoma had all agreed to parent the baby. Javi knows they will do well -- well enough, hopefully. 

No, he's afraid of having brought another person into this world. Even if it was mostly Marina's choice, he's still afraid. He's responsible. There is a child entering this world, centimeter by centimeter, because he made choices. 

Marina pretends to be nonchalant when she sees them, but Javi can tell she is relieved. He holds her close, her belly between them. 

"Hola, chica," he says softly.

Yuzu and Shoma hug her in turn too, presenting plushies for the baby. 

It's a long night. Marina walks and clutches Javi's arm as the contractions grow more intense, until the nurses give her an epidural.

"Hell yes," she says.

It's still some hours, with the sun glowing through the windows finally, before the baby is born. 

Once the baby is returned from tests and being cleaned up, they nestle her in Marina's arms. 

Marina actually coos and Javi laughs, feeling his anxiety uncoil.

"Do you want to hold her?"

Javi nods and takes the tiny little baby, with her tiny little fingers and toes, in his arms. She smells new as the creation of the world. His daughter. It makes him want to cry. He never imagined he would be a father, simply because of his marriage with Yuzu and Shoma.

He holds her for a long time.

"Hola, Rosa," he smiles.