Once

Mary Whiteside

Mary Whiteside

Soft cooing drifts underneath the faded floral curtain. Tender whispers quiet her dark sobs.

So many months of adjusting, trusting in new dreams and a different path. When she timidly embraced the cotton bundle, she had no doubts—she was in love. Then, a harried doctor’s warning: tests required. A single visit with her newborn. She didn’t know to say good-bye.

A hole in the heart.

She thinks about the tiny white casket—its satin interior decorated with yellow rosebuds—perfect for the raven-haired infant. Burial will be back in Ohio, they’ve told anyone who’s asked. There won’t be a funeral.

*

They had readied a pale yellow nursery, hanging ruffled white curtains trimmed with kittens tinted to match the soft blue and yellow crib. He meticulously painted the new chest, repeating the kitten motif on each drawer. Inside, folded diapers printed with dainty flowers, a rainbow of rompers, velvety blankets, tiny striped shirts and corduroy overalls, fleecy pajamas, even a tiny red snowsuit anticipating a winter arrival.

Beneath a high window, the hand-me-down rocking chair now waits in a nursery tainted with reality’s dark stain.

*

She dozes, listening to the gentle murmurs that frolic with the suffocating curtain. She was a mother once. For a few hours. Not again.

 

1 Comment

  1. I haven’t walked these step; still, the picture brings an ache, imaging such anguish.

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