Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Up and Down (04/02/09)
TITLE: When to Call a Doctor
By Rachel Rudd
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I turn and face the empty side of the bed. Night shift. I wish I never heard of those two words. So many nights alone in this big bed.
A whimper comes from the crib on the other side of the room. Suck-suck-suck. At least he still has has his pacifier.
Light spreads slowly across the room. Time to get up? Maybe, but I am more tired now than I was four hours ago when I laid down.
He’s awake. His cries began to echo across the bedroom. My tears begin, too. I feel nothing, but the tears come anyway.
I look down at his face wrinkled in agitation. I longed for this child, but now I have no energy for him.
I pick him up. In my arms he should be safe, but what if I hit his head into the door when I’m walking through? What if I don’t support his neck enough and I hurt him? I am scared.
He turns his head and roots for food. His tongue rests on his lips and he opens wide for nourishment. At least I can give him that.
He begins to suck and relax. For a few seconds all is right. Calmness lifts me up. I delight in his round face, in his white-speckled nose, and in his feathery blond hair.
My milk lets down. Will it be enough? Will he be able to get what he needs when I have no desire to eat? I must force myself to eat.
I’m a terrible mother. I can’t even take care of myself. How can I take care of this little life?
A door shuts downstairs. My husband’s home. Maybe he’ll take care of the next diaper change so I can lay down again.
When he finishes eating, I put the baby back into his crib. He purses his lips together and scrunches his eyebrows. Oh, great, I know what that face means. At least he’s still sleeping.
I walk downstairs and look into the study. The man I married is lying face down on the futon. His body lies sprawled in all directions and his hair lies scattered against the pillow. A loud snore disturbs the morning silence.
Great. I guess I’ll have to change the baby msyelf. I walk slowly to the refrigerator my bathrobe dragging against my heels. I open the door and stare down at the bread on the bottom shelf. Should I eat something?
Maybe I ought to end it all. I’ve got plenty of painkillers from after the c-section. I could take some and float up to neverland.
Never feel down again. Never have to stay up all night. Never have to get up from my bed at all.
A cry competes with the sound of snoring from the other room. He’s up again. I guess I’ll have to go get him.
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