A prompt based piece I wrote for school. A young mother deals with her husbands death.
|A tear rolls down my cheek as I gaze at her, my heart swelling until it feels it might burst. I trace a line down her nose, delighted at the gurgle that bubbles past her lips; almost a laugh. She smiles, recognising me. She reaches up to my finger, curling her chubby digits around it and squeezing hard. I can feel her heart beating against my own, slow and rhythmic. I wrap my arms around her, hugging her to my breast, letting her know that I’m here, I’m always here. She gurgles again, louder than before, and I stroke her hair, so light and fluffy. She reminds me of a new born duckling; my very own little duckling.
I rock her gently, still pressing her into my chest, tears falling freely now. Eventually her grip on my finger slackens, and the gurgling ceases. I pull her away from me, and she’s so still, so peaceful. I don’t dare disturb her. I brush her hair away from her face, and lie her gingerly back down.
I spend hours watching her like that, stroking her hair. She lies quietly, never making a sound; my little sleeping beauty. Reluctantly I place her in her bassinet, always careful not to wake her. Her skin feels a little cool, so I lay a blanket over her, the blue one with little white lambs around the edge. It’s her favourite. I check the clock and realise that it’s late; later than I’d thought it was, and I wonder where her father is. My heart shudders for a second, but I’m not sure why. I push the thought to the back of my mind and float happily to our kitchen, light as a feather.
Moonlight filters in through the window above the sink, illuminating the benches and shining off the pots and pans. I whirl in a circle, my night dress flowing around my legs as I dance to the music that plays in my mind; a waltz, joyous and dainty. For a brief second I wonder where my partner is, to lift my arm above my head and spin me in circles. A laugh rises in my throat, reminiscent of the gurgle that came from her lips earlier; pure delight. I dance partner-less in the silver light, spinning myself in circles.
I drift out of the kitchen, revelling in the darkness of our hallway, the walls seeming to absorb all light and sound. Everything is so quiet; peaceful. I glide past our bedroom door, and for a moment my heart shudders again, but I ignore it, moving to the lounge room instead. The carpet sinks beneath my feet, tickling my toes. I spread my arms, loving the feel of the air on my bare skin as I spin in circles. I run my fingers through my hair, my senses tingling with everything I touch. Something sticky catches my hand, and I hold it in front of my face, squinting at it through the darkness. My vision swims, and my hand falls to my side. Everything fades to black, my legs folding like paper.
My first thought waking is that I’m cold, deathly cold. I rub a hand up my arm, and stare in confusion at the sheen of sweat that covers it. I shiver, my thin night dress drenched with my perspiration, sticking to my skin and chilling me to the bone. I suck in a lungful of air, but it tastes stale, bitter, as though something has tainted the very essence of the room surrounding me.
I gaze around at our lounge room, its walls decorated with happy memories. That first day, when we took her home from the hospital, standing in this very room and cradling her in my arms. Her first birthday, the cake small and pink, just like her.
The dim light of the fading moon seems wrong though, casting shadows in unfamiliar patterns. Our happy memories look staged, distorted by the silvery light. Her birthday looks uncomfortable as we crowd around the cake; alone save for each other, the sum of our family. Her father stares down the lens of the camera, his bright smile not quite reaching his eyes.
My heart thuds painfully, and I turn away from the pictures, shaking the images from my head. I drift from the room, my limbs strangely heavy. My previous buoyancy has evaporated, and I drag my feet to her room. Her eyes are closed, and she looks so peaceful lying in her bassinet, fingers curled into a tiny fist. I reach down delicately, wrapping my arms around her fragile frame and lifting her to my chest. Her fist remains balled by her head, and her legs are stiff, but she fits snugly against my breast. Her tiny head rests in the cavern above my collarbone, and her cheek feels cold against my neck.
I carry her towards our room, and my legs grow heavier with each step. I get to the doorway, and my knees wobble beneath me, threatening to give out entirely. I stumble across the room, snatching the bottle from my bedside table. The smooth surface feels warm and comforting in my hand, and I sit down on the edge of the bed, staring unseeingly ahead, cradling her in my arms. I lie down slowly on the bed, careful not to jostle her. The duvet sticks to me, but I ignore it, curling inwards towards her father, reaching for his hand as I lay her on my torso. His fingers are stiff, but I force my own between them, searching for the comfort of his touch. Something crinkles beneath my leg, and I look down to see the note, stained almost black. I reach for it, clasping it to my heart for a moment before laying it beside her.
I open the bottle and pour the pills onto the duvet before taking a handful and shoving them into my mouth. They taste strange without water to wash them down; almost dusty, but I swallow them all. I try not to vomit. Minutes stretch to what seems like hours as I watch the room growing slowly lighter with the morning sunrise, and finally a ray of sunlight shines through the uncovered windows, lighting up the scene inside. I blink sleepily, staring at her father, and a smile creeps onto my face. Then I know. It’s now.
“See you soon,” I whisper, and I close my eyes for the last time.