Today is my son’s eighth birthday. Call me dramatic, but I’m reposting a piece I wrote a few years ago. This is in honor of Joe and his daddy and eight magical, terrifying, and joyous years together. I banged this story out very quickly and now that I’ve been in grad school for a year, it does make me cringe a bit. As I recall, the meme had a limit of 350 words or something.
She lay there completely drained, unable to speak, but also not feeling the need to.
Exhaustion had stolen the strength necessary to keep her eyes open. She fought hard throughout the night but, by the third time the staff rushed in, summoned by blaring alarms, she felt herself slipping. Wearily, she turned her face in his direction. In the rush of doctors, he had been driven to the far corner of the hospital room. Tears shimmered in his blue eyes. He rubbed his hand over the top of his head then pulled it down his face, wiping the moisture to the floor. He blinked and pressed his mouth into a hard white line. She’d never seen him this way before. He looks so sad, she thought.
Through her new calm, she felt only briefly sorry for him. She grew detached and he grew dim as she began the exquisite surrender. The hands of the people working on her body became weightless, their voices distant…tinny.
There was no fear and that surprised her. How many times had she begged for death but backed off, fearful of what lies beyond? With a growing sense of disengagement, she thought, how ironic…how peculiar that my prayers would be answered now, when I’m not begging for escape anymore. Be careful what you wish for.
She vaguely felt her body moving, lifting from the bed. Her eyes blinked open to her doctor’s hovering face, asking questions she couldn’t respond to. They blinked open to lights flashing past overhead, then open again when a mask was placed over her face. Finally, they opened to him, his forehead resting against hers, his eyes full of worry. He squeezed her hand and she felt that.
On the verge of surrender, the first cry of their son touched her ears. She thanked God for his life, grateful for that piece of her that would remain with her husband.
Then she closed her eyes.
This week The Red Dress Club’s Red Writing Hood prompt was for a flash fiction piece inspired by the word LIFE. The story needed to be told in 300 words or less. Mine is precisely 300 words and based on the birth of my son. Every single word is true, except for the part where I died, of course.