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.

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Tejal Doshi
Tejal Doshi (@tejal-doshi)
1 month ago

I read this story at least three times. It’s beautiful and sad, and I will be thinking of it for a long time.
It’s always amazing to read your stories.

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
1 month ago

A sad story, told to express the loss of a child, lovingly told.

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
1 month ago

What a sad and emotionally strong story, Juma! A young mother who has gone into the mental darkness, not accepting the reality of a cruel world outside. You have done a marvelous job in putting us into her situation, as well as that of her husband, standing in the doorway with his camellias, watching his wife with love and grief.
If you read my story, maybe you too saw some parallels with your story?

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Bait

It takes a real talent to tell a story in ...
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Inspirational piece. Am glad you picked the rat to be ...
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Endure and Sing

Such a sweet tale – and with a good moral ...
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I must admit it was the picture of the church, ...
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Beautiful Emilia, my eyes are a little misty after reading ...
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Wow! This is a good story! Really good to read ...
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Well done Emily on getting First – Eric.
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A Paranormal Pandemic

I agree with all the other comments, Emily. This is ...
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Love this Emily, nice and tense throughout, culminating with that ...
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I like this haiku Katy – always they question what ...
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I’m really glad to hear that! Leena Auckel did an ...
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Hi Katy, it really does add an extra dimension to ...
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In my neighboring country Denmark, we have the classical storyteller ...
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Don’t we all find refuge in a good book and ...
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You took an all-too-common painful occurrence and gave it a ...
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I like the concept of home here. Well crafted ending.
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