If Only

If OnlyCopyright – Douglas M. MacIlroy

by Nan Claire Falkner

Bill had lived in Alaska for 12 years with the last 4 years alone. His wife Aya and their son had died in childbirth. Wow – his head was throbbing – “need more Advil.” He pushed away from the table, picked up the bottle, dosed himself 3 pills and went to bed.

“Honey, wake up, I’m in labor.” Aya kissed his back, and suddenly wide awake, he cradled her kissing her fervently. “We’re going to the hospital. I shudder to think what could happen!”

“While I’m there, I’ll get some blue paint.”

“But how do you know it’s a boy?” she said.


47 thoughts on “If Only

  1. Dear Nan,

    The question is, which is reality and which is dream. I like it that you’ve left this up to the reader to decide. Either way, nicely done.



  2. Dear Nan,

    I love that this dream within a dream can be taken either way. It is simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful and really gets the reader on tenterhooks no matter what they end up thinking. Well done.



  3. I wish you could see the smile on my face right now. A story that WORKS! 🙂

    I say it’s his going back in memory or a dream. That’s how I saw it.

    • Dear Alicia: Thank you so much – you can wonder all you want and decide which way you want this to go. Everyone has an opinion – so good or bad – happy or sad. have a good week! Nan 🙂

    • Dear Audrey, So would I. I’d rather see the happy end and if it’s science fiction – so be it. Aya is a Japanese name meaning color. Have a good week and thank you so much for stropping by! Thanks, Nan 🙂

    • Dear Susan, That’s my take on it too. He was dreaming she had died with the baby and all of the sudden she is waking him up and saying he’s in labor – no home delivery here – so they go to the hospital, for safety. On the way he mentions to go get some blue paint (for a boys room) and she says But How? (like how do you know it’s a boy? Thanks for stopping by and I like yours too! Nan 🙂

  4. A dream within a dream and he wakes up the day before the wedding?
    Endless possibilities, even being a straight tragedy.
    Moving one Nan.

  5. Nan,
    I had to read a couple of times to catch the implications of both realities. You have packed many layers of meaning into a few words. I think we all hope he was dreaming in the first portion. Glad that he is hopeful in the morning. He should have had that nursery painted weeks ago. Just like a man to procrastinate, isn’t it? Ha! Nice take on the prompt. (And sorry it took me so long to get here–the linkup hasn’t been working for me this week.)

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

  6. so sad , so terrible 😦 at first i read this differently though… his wife and kid died… and then he killed himself with the pills and then he woke up to a new life with his family complete.. a second chance. 🙂 i know it’s so unlikely, but i’d rather think of it that way 🙂 🙂

    • Dear K.Z. I agree with you – I’m sort of starry eyed when it comes to interpretation of stories. I usually will go for the “Happily Ever After” scenario. Thanks, Nan 🙂

  7. Thank GOD you like happy ending. I was very relieved knowing bill only had
    the worst dream he could ever have.

    • Dear Horus, I agree with you so much! I hope it was a bad dream he woke from and he decided to take her to the hospital instead of a home delivery! Thanks, Nan 🙂

  8. something to make a person’s heart just stop. a horrible nightmare and hopefully not premonition. i like the way the wife wonders how he knew the sex of the child. they must have skipped the ultrasound and wanted to be surprised. right on. 🙂

  9. Dear Sun, Thank you for coming to visit again! Yes, it would be a horrible nightmare and a bad omen! I think the wife is a lot smarter than her husband gives her credit for. I am almost positive that the bad ending was a bad nightmare! But hey, I’m just the author! Nan 🙂

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