Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: FEET (01/17/19)
- TITLE: Ten Tiniest Toes
By Yvonne Blake
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She wrapped her coat around her as she went out on the deck for a piece of wood. The sky was a mixture of lavender and gray. The sun would lift its head above the horizon for a few hours around midday. Winter felt like one long, long, long cold twilight – not day, not dark, just a never-ending pastel time. She went back inside and pushed the spruce log into the wood stove. It snapped and crackled as the coals caught the sap.
As she stood close to the warmth, a tickly sensation traveled across her belly. She gasped and rubbed her hand over the spot, hoping to feel it again. Was it her baby moving? She whispered, “Hi, little one. Can you move again for Mommy?”
Perhaps it was only a gas bubble from bean soup they ate last night for supper. But deep down she knew it was her baby stretching up on her tiptoes like a ballerina, or maybe he was practicing a karate kick. “Now, don’t you hurt Mommy,” she murmured, but secretly she wished he’d do it again.
That evening the young couple cuddled under a downy quilt. “Do you want to name him after you, a junior?” she asked.
“No, but maybe just his middle name. How about you? If it’s a girl, do you want her named after you?”
“I’d like the middle name to be some kind of family name.” She placed his hand on her belly. “I felt her move today.”
“Oh really? Maybe he was kicking a field goal.”
“No, I don’t want my boy playing football . . . maybe soccer or basketball, though.” She smiled. “I thought it was more like a karate kick or a ballerina stretching her long legs.” She smiled. “If it’s a boy, I’d like his name to be Everett. If it’s a girl, I’d like Emma.”
“Well, God knows what is best for us, and we’ll just have to accept whatever He gives us. Next week we’ll find out. I can’t wait.” He gave her an extra tight squeeze and kiss on the tip of her nose.
The next week, they plowed their way through a flurious snow squall to the hospital. The technician escorted the excited couple into a darkened room, and instructed Karen where to change and get ready for the ultra-sound. Soon they were chatting about the baby and guesses of its gender as the nurse rolled the gooey scanner over Karen’s belly.
The technician silently pressed the scanner to one side, then another. Then without looking at them, she said, “I’ll be right back.”
The room was quiet as the door closed behind her. Carl and Karen waited in the shadows. Karen grabbed Carl’s hand. “I’m scared.”
“I’m sure it’s nothing. Don’t worry.”
“Carl, what if something’s wrong?”
He leaned over and kissed her, but didn’t reply.
The next few hours were a blurry nightmare. Words floated through their tears, scary words like “deceased . . . miscarriage . . . undeveloped . . . abort . . .”
After hours of induced labor, Karen held out her arms as the nurse laid a limp bundle, all wrapped in a pink cloth, in her arms. “Take all the time you want. Call me when you’re ready.”
Shoulders shaking with released sobs and eyes red with tears, they traced the little girl’s sweet cheeks and delicate fingers. They lifted her miniature feet and counted her ten tiny toes. Karen kissed the soft head. “She’s so beautiful,” she said, as another wave of grief overwhelmed her.
With heavy hearts, they returned through the twilight to their cold home – where the hope of spring had disappeared. Carl took the little box, a gift from the maternity ward, and placed it on the top shelf. Inside was a pink cloth with white lace and a plastic ID bracelet. He hung a frame above it.
born and died December 15, 2012
. . . and the tiniest footprints ever.
(dedicated to my granddaughter in heaven)
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