A Mother's Love

A Mother's Love

A Story by JDM

They’ve started up again. The voices. Whispering things I don’t want to hear. Making me feel things I don’t want to feel. Making me do things I don’t want to do.

 

“They ain’t nothin’ but sin.”

 

Charlie, my youngest begins to wail. Or maybe he keeps on wailing. He’s been colicky since the day he was born. Damn near impossible to shut that boy up.

 

“Just shake him a little. Just to make him stop.”

 

I know that’s wrong and I shut out that one voice. The loudest one. The one that sounds most like me.

 

“Put a little bourbon in his milk. Knock his a*s out.”

 

That voice is familiar. Sounds almost like me but not quite.

 

I light a cigarette and settle into the rocking chair in the nursery, looking at Charlie but not really looking at him, you know? I suck heavily on the filtered tip and stand, making my way over to my baby. My lungs are strong; just like Charlie’s. My fingers grip the edge of the white-washed crib and exhale a noxious plume of smoke into his face.

 

His eyes, so dark, rimmed red with tears and grief and pain that someone so young shouldn’t understand, meet mine for just a moment. His cries cease and for a few heartbeats of a moment, for the first time, we connect. He understands me. He welcomes the poison I’ve bestowed upon him.

 

The Charlie’s jaw goes lax. His eyes shut tightly and the wail begins again.

 

This time is twice as loud. Slicing my heart. Breaking my soul.

 

“Shut up.”

 

That voice�"that one is familiar.

 

It’s mine.

 

Cigarette forgotten, I begin to roar in Charlie’s face, matching him cry for cry, scream for scream, tear for tear.

 

“Shut up.”

“Shut up!”

“SHUT THE F**K UP!”

 

It’s as if he thinks we’re competing and my Charlie is hell-bent on winning. Even though I’m bigger, even though I’m stronger, it’s the cries of my baby that are the loudest. I am no match for his pain, his wrath, his anger.

 

Wearily, I sink to my knees, dropping the lit cigarette to the floor.

 

I am so tired.

 

Weak.

 

Exhausted.

 

Alone.

 

Except for Charlie.

 

I’m all alone.

 

With Charlie.

 

I close my eyes, cover my ears, muffling his screams and shut him out.

 

And there it is.

 

That peace.

 

That sense of calm.

 

That all is right in the world.

 

I welcome this feeling of “aloneness”. And I desperately crave more.

 

As if on auto-pilot, I raise myself from the carpet, making my way to the entrance of the bathroom separating my room from my baby’s. I shut the door hard behind me and turn on the hot faucet to the bath. Because that’s what I need. To be clean. To scrub this noise from my life.

 

The room heats quickly. Steam rising from the sunken tub overwhelming my senses, limiting my visibility. Opening the medicine cabinet, I find my savior.

 

Mother’s Little Helpers.

 

That’s what my momma calls them.

 

The heat and steam of the room make it difficult for me to loosen the child-proof top. When it finally opens, a full bottle of tiny yellow pills spills all over the cracked linoleum.

 

Like a crack addict feening for his next fix, I dive to the floor. My fingers grasping and shoveling every single pill that I find into my mouth.

 

Not bothering to swallow, I chew and swallow any circular object I shove into my mouth.

 

I’m pissed because I know I didn’t find them all, but that doesn’t matter. I just need peace. I just need quiet. I just need to relax.

 

Somehow through the haze of the steam and the pills, I can hear Charlie’s wail.

 

He’s singing to me. Telling me that he loves me.

 

That he understands.

 

Mommy just needs a break.

 

That’s all.

 

Mommy just needs a break.

 

Beyond weary, I lack the energy to remove my jeans and sweater, so I crawl into the half-filled tub fully dressed. The weight of the denim and heavy cotton pull me down, forcing me to sink nearly beneath the surface.

 

I’m so tired.

 

And so hot.

 

My thick mane of hair cushions my head against the lip of the tub, the sweet, acrid scent of burning paper tickles my nose as I sink deeper into the tub.

 

I don’t hear the voices any more.

 

I don’t hear Charlie crying.

 

Peace reigns supreme.

 

I turn off the faucet before the tub overflows and strain my ears.

 

Nothing.

 

The scent of burning paper is more powerful, but it’s oddly comforting as well.

 

It seems to have put my Charlie to sleep.

 

For the first time, maybe since my Charlie was born, a hint of a smile raises the corners of my lips. My mind is telling me to fight the sleep that’s taken over me, but I submit to it.

 

Why wouldn’t I?

 

Charlie did.

 

I breathe in deeply and exhale the tension that has wrecked by body since the day that beautiful boy came into my world. My eyes flicker over to the door leading to his nursery.

 

Soft, beautiful orange and yellow flames flicker beneath the doorway. He must be so quiet because he’s enjoying the show.

 

I close my eyes and sink beneath the surface of the water, knowing my child is quiet, entertained and at peace. So quiet. So still. He must be happy.

 

What a good mother I am.

© 2015 JDM


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91 Views
Added on October 15, 2015
Last Updated on October 15, 2015
Tags: flash fiction, short story, drama, dark, fiction

Author

JDM
JDM

Washington, DC



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