I hear him crying in the farthest reaches of my mind. That universal waa, waaa, waaaa of a newborn babe. I fumble for my glasses and glance at the clock, 2:24. I knew I had just collapsed into sleep myself, surely he can’t be hungry so soon.
I stagger to the kitchen and turn on the hot water. I stand in the glow of the opened refrigerator door, looking for one of his bottles. As I find one, tucked in the farthest corner, well behind the gallon of milk, I swipe a slice of cheese from the drawer for my own middle of the night snack.
I munch on the cheese as the bottle warms in a bowl of hot water. His cries have slowed some, I suppose if I waited a bit, he might fall back to sleep. I finish my snack and test the milk, soothing warmth to fill his ever-growing belly.
As I approach his bassinet, he hears me and renews his vocal tirade. I scoop his swaddled self up and snuggle us into the rocking chair. He gulps hungrily at the proffered bottle as he and I settle into a familiar rhythm.
Rock, suck, rock, suck, rock.
In no time at all he’s finished the bottle. A small river of milk flowing down his chin as he drowsily yawns and peers up at me from his blanketed cocoon. I hold him close, inhaling the intoxicating newborn smell. My heart overflows with motherly adoration, at this wonder of creation nestled in my arms.
My love is palpable, a pleasant ache that wraps us both in its tender embrace. I know I should put him back in his bassinet, but I continue to relish this quiet minute and before I know it, I’ve joined him in pleasant dreams.
I wake with a start, peering through the darkness, fumbling for my glasses as I ascertain what time it is, 2:24. I look down at my empty arms and realize it was nothing more than a dream, a whisper of what once was. The tender ache of newborn love has been replaced with the raw pain of everlasting sorrow.
The heaviness in my heart threatens to consume me, to anchor me down to this very spot and never let me go. I weep until I think I can’t possibly find any more tears to shed. Each tear adds to the weight of my grief until my heart is cast in stone, an unbearable burden to carry.
I struggle to reclaim my dream, I close my eyes and wait for sleep. Rocking gently, my arms empty save for the weight my concrete heart.
This post inspired by the prompt “Concrete” by Studio 30+.
Critiques are always welcome.