A story of redemption for a woman who has experienced the loss of children.
|As the day grew longer, Christa placed her hand on the slowly growing stomach. Her husband was often gone, and she had come to consider twilight as a personal moment between her and the new being. She was still afraid to name this new life form, or even to assign it a sex. Even though she had now safely passed into her third trimester, she could still remember the slow trickles that had come before; they always meant death. She was afraid to love, yet love she did. Sometimes, in her most desperate moments, she embraced the gush of emotion, allowed it to rend her powerless, something she had never allowed before. She would sigh, longingly tracing the curve of her abdomen, looking at her swelling feet, ignoring the fear that constantly lurks at the edges. A long drawn-out sigh issued from her lips again.
She knew she would spoil this child, if it ever had the chance to truly become a child. It would expel itself from her womb, and into her arms. There would be sugar cookies, slipped into a small mouth on a blinding Sunday morning. There would be small feel, kicking their way into a giant bed, while a husband pretended to be disapproving. And, finally, there would be no more loneliness, no more of the gripping sensation late at night, that feeling that could tear you apart.
Christa sat, and she hoped. This child was the one who would stay; it had to be. She couldn't grow hard with bitterness. This would be her husband's child, and hers. Empty promises would become full once more. Christa sat, quiet, stroking, the sounds of a suburban night falling. There was a connection here for her; where she had once been full of rage and despair, she would soon be filled with bliss. If only.
John came silently into his own home, a ghostly shadow in a women's hell. Despite what his wife believed, there was a steady bleeding to his heart. He was a strong man, but strong men fall, too. He was a criminal, a man sneaking into his own home, wishing to steal back his wife's love. A lot more than the sheets had been cleansed when his wife had bled out her children. John had been thrown out into a cold world of disregard. He had loved the children that came before, and his punishment had been the loss of a family. He was forever "a husband", never "my husband". The house was cold.
He sneaked, along the wall, watching as the moonlight danced across the wood floor. He came to the living room, sheathed in darkness. He came to Christa, asleep, hand hugging the protruding belly. He paused, assessing his quiet wife, peaceful at last. Quietly, he whispered, "It's been awhile."
Christa awoke, not with a start, as had been the case in so many years past. The slow, beatific smile spread across her face as she regarded him. So love does not die, she thought. She reached her hand, imploring for the unity of a family, so broken. Her husband gripped, pulling his wife closer and closer.
She thought she would name him John.