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Christmas with Icky



Formaldehyde. My stomach whirred. The wall kept me upright my first day of Anatomy and Physiology. Could I hold out?

The professor announced lab partners. “Rick Hunter. Sharon McGee.”

We locked eyes a nanosecond then she glided to her seat. Her plaid kilt and buttery sweater confirmed alternating chills and sweats as the all-too-familiar rise expunged before I could channel it. I barfed on Sharon’s obviously expensive cowgirl boots.

“Gross.” She recoiled, face scrunched. “You gotta pay for new ones.”

A dweeb said, “Rick, way to impress your exceptionally hot lab partner.”

Right then I only cared about not doing it again.

Background laughter subsided as the prof stuck a rag and bedpan in my face.

Dubbed “Icky Hunter,” the moniker followed me through med school. Sharon barely spoke to me, but gathering courage, I asked her for coffee.

She declined.

I guessed hanging out with Icky had no appeal.

Despite the trauma, I never forgot her.

At Christmas, 12 years later, Sharon’s feet rested in stirrups on my watch.

What a coincidence.

I forced myself to concentrate.

Still beautiful as Princess Grace. No wedding band. But during pregnancy, women could wear the circle on a chain. I glanced. No necklace either.

Naturally, rhythmic breathing kept her preoccupied.

A woman in a hospital gown rushed in. “I’m here, Shar. How’s it going?” She turned to me, eyes sparkling. “She’s having my baby.”

“Congratulations” I said, astutely. I introduced myself as Dr. Hunter, handling deliveries for the practice’s patients today. I assured "sparkles" things were progressing normally as I explained my decision for an episiotomy.

Sharon puffed through a contraction as I took position. “Tracy, you better be a great mom or else.”

“You’ll nag me anyway.”

“Push,” I ordered. “It’s a girl.” I laid the infant on Sharon’s abdomen and said to Tracy. “Want to cut the cord?”

She beamed brighter.

Next, the nurse checked post-birth procedures then slipped the blanketed bundle beside Sharon.


“You hold her Tracy. She’s going home with you.”

What complicated relationships people had these days! I stitched the episiotomy and conveyed some directions.

Sharon’s amber eyes grew wide. “Icky Hunter, is that YOU?”

Memories of A&P class heated my face. “Guilty. But I’m called Dr. Hunter now.”

Would she adopt the title?

She grinned. “You really became an OB-GYN?”

“Yes, and you became a . . . .”

“Surrogate,” she blurted. “For my sister Tracy and her husband Chad. They had no luck.”

“That’s quite a Christmas gift.”

“You know, Rick, I had a crush on you for the longest time. Must have been the new shoes you bought me. I always hoped you would ask me out again.” She blushed.

I pulled a sheet over her.

“I wanted to.” I could kick myself. “Talk about misreading signals!”

“Is there a Mrs. Hunter?” She asked.

“Mom lives in Florida. Otherwise, no.” Any interest in discussing the job?”

Becky Jacoby is a seasoned business and healthcare writer who dabbles in fiction, animal art and quilting. She and hubby live in Coastal North Carolina with their two rescued dogs who keep her busy cleaning nose prints from the windows.
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