When the Bough Breaks
She gently rocks the cradle, remembering all her favorite lullabies.
“Hush-a-bye, don’t you cry, go to sleepy little baby,” she sings softly, as she tenderly adjusts the soft, pale green coverlet.
“When you wake, you shall have all the pretty little horses.” The tiny hand-carved animals in the mobile above the cradle slowly dance with the slight breeze from the open nursery window. The sun is going down; it will be getting cooler soon. She doesn’t want baby to catch a chill. She gets up and closes the window, then returns to her seat beside the cradle.
“Rock-a-bye baby, in the tree top.” She looks around the room with satisfaction. She hand-picked every toy, every lampshade, every curtain to make a perfect place for baby. She loved designing the nursery. She loved being pregnant and she loves being a mother. This is her calling, her destiny.
“When the wind blows, the cradle will rock.” She smiles at the pile of alphabet blocks in one corner. It will be a few years yet, but she can’t wait to teach baby the beauty of words, of colors, of shapes, of flowers. She rocks and rocks the wooden cradle, in the fading light of an autumn evening.
Her husband watches from the doorway, standing sentinel. He carries a bucket of camellias, her favorite flower. He imagines her looking up and finally seeing him, for the first time in so many weeks. He steps into the room.
“Shh,” she warns him without looking up. “You’ll disturb baby.”
She takes the camellias from him and carefully places them in the empty cradle.
“I think I’ll rest now, until baby wakes up,” she says.
A cold hand grips his heart, and he can hardly breathe. He imagines holding her in his arms, the two of them weeping, mourning their loss, comforting each other. “Give her time,” the doctor had told him.
He puts his own grief on hold, gently takes her hand, and together they tiptoe out of the darkening room.