This morning I am practicing my coma.
Pretending I don't hear the soft sing-song calls of "Mooooommeeeeee" wafting in from out there somewhere. In stereo.
I don't hear the tinkles and toilet flush. The pitter-pat of four little feet.
It's June 24th. Let me sleep.
I do, however, feel the knee in the left ovary and the little agile fingers prying my eyelids open.
"Good morning, darlings! What, awake so soon? Let's go make us some breakfast!"
Two almost three year-olds? Love to "help" in the kitchen, make making breakfast a whole morning-long activity. Thank goodness. Because I am out of fresh ideas.
The pancake batter drizzled all over the floor? Why do you think we have a dog?
Did Robert fill the plastic pool before he left for work, set it in the sun?
Yes! (No divorce today.)
Hours of splash the brother / dunk the sister have done their job.
After lunch? They go down for a nap. Hard.
I honestly don't know what I would have done today, otherwise. Chained them up in their room? Maybe.
I slip away from sleeping children, back downstairs, then down again.
A room of my own. Merely a screened off corner of the basement. No matter. Mine.
And in my desk, middle drawer, back, under, no further under... there it is.
I pull out the envelope. Plain, manila tan. One corner worried at, a bit torn.
Inside: one picture. The only one I have of her.
Blurry, the way ultrasound pictures are supposed to be.
But still, the features are clearly there: Elli's nose, Josh's pointy chin.
The big sister they will never know.
Once the twins came along, Robert stopped mourning, moved on. Full of love for the living.
But I can't. My heart is not built that way.
So I contain it, crack open on specific occasions. An hour here, a day there.
Like today, June 24th.
Her (would have been) due date.
I slide the photo back in, tuck it away. I don't really need to look at it anyway, so seared into my soul.
Back upstairs, upstairs again.
Sitting, waiting for my children's eyes to flutter open, for them to tumble, sleepy, out of newly minted toddler beds.
My arms will fill with the sweet weight of them, as my heart’s doors swing open and shut, open and shut. And open.
This post was written for The Red Dress Club's Red Writing Hood prompt: "Flash Fiction can be fun and a real challenge. Write a 300 word piece using the following word for inspiration: LIFE."
And? As usual, I've gone a little over the limit - pretend it said 400, OK? Problems with authority, following the rules? Me? Noooooo. (And I wonder where Ethan gets that from, sheesh!)
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