baby blues

June 29, 2009 at 2:08 pm Leave a comment

Why wouldn’t they take her flowers? Everybody loves roses. Everybody except for them, sitting at their tables, sipping lattes and biting into low-fat cream cheese muffins. She knew the way they looked at her. The contempt, annoyance, pity. She didn’t need their pity. What she needed was for them to take a fucking rose. How hard was that?

There, in the back. A young man with a goatee. A girl, blond, smiling doe-eyed. Were they in love? Like she was once. God, that was a long time ago. The girl won’t look at her. Not interested. Of course not. She wasn’t interested in anything either at that age. Until the doctor told her she was pregnant. Then everything changed. Everything became real important. Just like that.

She wasn’t always like this. She had a job once. OK, it wasn’t much, a receptionist. But she met people. Had friends. Men looked at her, thought her pretty. Women asked her when her baby was due and she’d tell them and they would smile and tell her how radiant she was. Rick was excited too. He built a crib, painted the room blue, with yellow smiling stars. She didn’t want to know the baby’s gender. She wanted it to be a surprise. They practiced pronouncing different names at night. Miles, like Miles Davis, said Rick. But what if it’s a girl? Olivia. That was her pick. She didn’t know any Olivias, other than the one on Law and Order: SVU. But she liked the ring of it. The way it reminded her of classy cocktail parties.

She gave birth to Olivia in a hospital bed on a Sunday morning, one month premature.  She held her in her arms, and Rick took pictures. Such a quiet baby, big brown eyes and a faint smile. Her hands. How small her hands were. Then, one cool October morning, she got out of bed, walked to Olivia’s room, and Olivia wasn’t breathing. She was three months old. They buried her quietly. And quietly drifted apart. Rick worked so hard he had no time to come home anymore. He found an apartment that was closer to the office, told her it was for the best. They both needed to move on. She thought: how can you want to move on? Don’t you need to be somewhere before you can move to somewhere else?

Every Sunday she went to the corner store, bought three roses and made her way to the graveyard. She took the old, wilted ones out of the glass jar, tried to give them away on her way back. If she could only get rid of them, she thought, everything would be OK again. She stopped in at her favorite coffee shop. But they wouldn’t help her, these people with their cell phones, laptops and mochas. They didn’t want her flowers, just like Olivia didn’t want the life she tried to give her. “We’re going to have to ask you to leave,” said the cafe owner. So she did. She went into the streets, looked for mothers with babies, held out the half-dead flowers. But they pretended they didn’t see her. They pretended that it was all her fault. She killed her baby. That’s what they thought. She could see it in the way they hustled by her.

Every evening she returned to the graveyard. She sat next to the tombstone, the glass jar, the wilting flowers. Sometimes she told stories. Sometimes she hummed a lullaby. She thought she could hear her breathing. Olivia. But when she called her name, everything went silent. Just like that.

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Entry filed under: Fiction.

i have no use for poets evolution

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