I sprinted into the house and made the call. I remember desperately wishing my mother was there.
In her twenties, Emily can’t picture becoming a mother. She doesn’t want a life like her own mother’s—to settle, or settle down.
When I squeeze my eyes real hard at the photograph of Mamma’s wedding day, the one with her mouth wide open, I can see it—the sad something Mamma managed to hide from the world.
The air had grown still, and the window gleamed. She wished she was flying onto a bank of ice, wished that baby would appear and scream with hunger, and she’d hold him close and sing him a simple song.
She has been here before, on the same baby blue tile, stroking my hair, preaching the hollow words of God’s will. Thankfully she isn’t doing that yet. I don’t believe in God—not for a while now. Today she is humming.
I don’t remind him that three of his siblings died as babies. My mother-in-law relied on elders who relied on incense and prayer to cure everything from fever to diarrhea. No Tylenol. No doctor with a special nighttime number. No phone to call her.
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