This short story was written for my Contemporary Literature class. I am finally posting it. Please feel free to ask questions.
The pudgy nurse with the cupcake tattoo on her back entered the cold, sterile room. It wasn’t very specious with machines, a hospital bed and medical supplies crammed into the area. Also, placed among the numerous amounts of carted objects, was a small recliner reserved for sympathetic guests with pity filled eyes glancing at the patients in the Pediatric ICU. Her purpose was to shut off the irritating noise, a continuous beep that was interrupting the heaviness encompassing the room.
The woman sitting in the hospital bed numbly looked at the nurse; her eyes were bloodshot from the lack of sleep. She always had a sleeping problem, when she was younger her parents told her that she never wanted to miss a moment. That behavior did not change now that she had seen twenty-two healthy years.
The nurse waddled to the machine and made the room silent again and the machine go blank. The toddler tucked between the pillows and his mother had the appearance of a cherub. Color filled his cheeks, blooming like a rose. His smile was etched into his constitution, but the constant jerking of his body almost made it seem as if demons were trying to escape. The smile was overshadowed by the gaze the nurse gave the mother. This scene was where two young individuals, both smiling, but one out of habit to masking grief. The other smiled due to irreparable brain malfunctions. They were both so young, young enough to be someone’s children. But, who could that this mother, this “baby” has a toddler so young.
The nurse reached out and touched the mother’s arm sending a shiver down the nurse’s spine. “You should hold him now.” She whispered gently.
The mother raised her eyes slowly, words hard to manifest due to restraining of emotions. “But he will die if I do that, last time I held him his breathing became compromised.“
The nurse nodded, but as the statement left her lips another entity gained access to the moment. The world seemed to dissolve around the three of them. His appearance seemed to choke the life out of the young princes labored breathes. The mother picked the boy up, his body hanging limp from the lack of muscle tone. His infliction never allowed for tonality to heal. He was never mentally and physically capable of accomplishing anything by himself, yet with his simple twinkle and presence metaphysical ideas manifested around him. The nurse helped the mother position her son on her chest, his favorite place where his heart beat and hers thundered softly together, slowly fading.
The man in the corner stepped forward from his place; the mother looked at this man with contempt. His features speaking of an aggressive masculinity, but his eyes held the demeanor of an angel. Following orders, coming to retrieve a precious treasure not meant for earthly endeavors. The warm tears threatened to spill forth from her eyes, tears that were building behind a dam. Tears trying to crash against her psyche, praying for this release, but she would not allow it. Not when there was a stranger, trying to take a gift given. She whispered sweet nothings in his ear, small promises of furthering life. Prayers with no faith rather, remembering all the moments where she whispered the same sayings to an unimaginable being. Hoping that one day in her short life, through simple actions, would produce a miracle for the suffering child. Praying to a benevolent God who deemed her son not good enough to heal. This neurological atrocity could be placed on the shoulders of ‘It just is’, yes that reasoning was far more acceptable than an all-powerful man claiming because he deemed it so. While anger raked through her body, her eyes betrayed her. Letting out tears.
It was finally relieving a pressure that was built for three long, horrifying years. She could make out the man’s smile through the fog of it all, as he reached for the boys hand. As his arms stretched to touch the toddler, his glow slowly diminished until finally he enclosed his hand around the child’s limp one. His rosy cheeks greyed, and his supple lips cold with a lavender kiss. With one more breath he left the arms of his mother, and was standing near the man. Holding his hand and smiling. One that did not require a tremor to stir, instead it was placed there through freedom.
Peculiarly though, as this tragedy unfolded, a little girl ran past the hospital bed. Her origins unknown, but she was the same height as the toddler. A larger smile placed on her sweet face, her head tilted to the side causing her side pony-tail to swish. She looked exactly like the mother did as a child, a replica of the little lad, but without kinky hair. She hugged the prince and giggled, and they looked towards the mother then waved, and exited the room as if they left a different reality. They were all smiling except for the two empty shells on the hospital bed one cold from fresh death, and the other though the punishments of life.