Small bump.

It’s 4 o’clock in the morning. Your mother’s by the door. She asks me: “Have you seen my baby?” She says: “He doesn’t call home no more.” I silently let her in, my dressing gown hanging loosely from my insomniac body. I feel my face freeze, as if the winter air has replaced the blood in my veins. I can’t talk about you. I’m ought to sleep, so I can wake up again. So I can maybe forget you’re not here, leave your face and the feel of your hands behind in my dreams. Nightmares. Your mother settles in the kitchen, seizing the water boiler so she can make us tea. She has a strong belief a cup of hot water always makes a person feel better. I think she may be right. I sit next to her, my fingers burning against the hot porcelain in my hands. Sweet vanilla evaporates from the water and sweetens the salty tears now on my face. Your mother clutches my hand, puts the cup down, keeps me from second degree burns. She comforts me with blue eyes full of hope. That’s because she’s a mother. Mothers know best. And I have to cry even more. My hands look for the small bump underneath your shirt I’m wearing, but it’s no longer there. I wish I could have been a mother. Your mother’s gaze trails my hands and she speaks comfortingly: “He’ll be home soon,” and in a weird way, I believe her. I realize she wasn’t here because she’s worried about you. She’s worried about me. She’s a mother. She knows what it means to lose. A peaceful calm settles inside my belly, replacing the gut-wrenching pain I’ve felt there for about two weeks. It feels like I’m filling up with love. Love for my lost little baby girl. I realize, all this time I’ve wanted to be a mother, but I already am. Out of nowhere, a smile creeps back onto my face and it’s the most beautiful spontaneous thing my body has ever accomplished. Your mother nods, reading all I’m thinking and all I am. Then the backdoor squeaks. And you walk inside. As if you’ve never been gone.

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