BOOKS & CHILDREN
Abigail felt it in her chest – the slow, disappointing collapse of a used up party balloon.
Her heart – once a robust timpani of motherly pride – wheezed and gasped as she attempted to recount at least one remarkable quality of her only son.
Over the years, the ladies of the “Every Third Thursday Women’s Only Book Club” sat around Marsha Tibult’s luxurious dining table, chatting about the beauty of words and children.
Abigail’s Thomas was a shining star of a child.
“What’s Tommy up to?” They’d ask.
“Studying.” Abigail’s heart wept. “The prison has an excellent library.”
The nurse assured her lot’s of ugly people have beautiful children. But when Gracie looked down at the pinched and withered face, she knew those kind words were as hollow and disappointing as a rotten pecan nut.
Her daughter looked just like her.
The birth wasn’t greeted with flowers or visitors. The father didn’t come to the room.
Ugliness is a lonely place.
Gracie kissed her daughter’s nose and frowned. She held the baby tightly to her breast, ’til the mewling stopped and her girl lay still.
Could she be blamed for sparing her?
Isn’t that was good mothers do?
Sitting in a cafe, I can’t stop watching this nervous EMT.
He can’t sit still – he’s up, he’s down – checking his phone – looking out the window.
EMT’s shouldn’t be so jumpy. There should be a rule.
He abruptly passes me a note asking me if I’m single. He tells me I’m beautiful. He tells me he would never forgive himself if he didn’t ask. He says he’s embarrassed. I write back Sorry, I’m married. But thanks.
It feels like high school.
He’s the first man who’s told me I’m beautiful in ten years.
I decide to keep that to myself.