“I look ridiculous,” Greta said. There wasn’t a mirror in the NICU washroom, but she didn’t need one. She affixed the surgical mask over her face as Jonathan made tiny adjustments to the infectious diseases suit she was forced to wear. She gingerly returned to her wheelchair, the effort of scrubbing up and dressing taking way too much out of her.
“It’s either this or you wait until your infection is gone to see her.” Jonathan shrugged. Greta knew he was far too exhausted to be sympathetic with her nerves, but she was too exhausted to try and keep her frayed emotions from surfacing.
“I didn’t come all this way…” she trailed off, trying to keep the tears at bay.
“I know,” Jonathan patted her shoulder. It’s how it had always been with them, him calming her with just a gesture and a couple of words. “Shall we?” He asked, beginning to push her wheelchair into the NICU.
She nodded silently, nervously taking in the scene. Two rows of incubators and cribs housing tiny fragile beings sprawled on either side of her as they made their way to her daughter’s incubator. It was a flurry of organized chaos with nurses and doctors hovering all around. She watched as some parents held their children, cords and IV lines dangling while others hovered over incubator shells, some putting hands into the incubator just to hold their babies tiny fragile arms, others not even afforded that luxury.
“There she is.” Jonathan said, beaming as their little girl squirmed within her incubator. Tears broke free from her eyes as she saw her daughter for the third time in six days. Her daughter’s beauty coupled with her fragile state was too much to bear.
“She’s incredible,” Greta cried out.
“Yeah she is,” Jonathan smiled tiredly.
They all are, Greta thought to herself as she looked out over the sea of fragile babies and sent them all her love.
The above story was for Trifecta's Mask Challenge.