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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My Dresser Drawer

I could hardly sleep last night.  I lay in the darkness feeling the cool air billow across white sheets and listening to the hum of the fan.  I want to immerse myself in memories.  I want to be there in them.  I hear her little footsteps as she runs to our room in the night.  She stands by my bed and her arms are full of fuzzy friends and her silky pink pillow.  "Mommy I dropped the bunny!" she cries.  I pull her across me and make room for her little pillow and stuffed animals.  "Mommy will get him, baby."  With a little irritation at the number of animals that must make the midnight trek to our bed, I retrieve the pink softness.  She sighs and snuggles into the warmth between mommy and daddy.   I kiss her soft cheeks and pull my fingers through gentle, blond curls.  And the world feels right.  I think of the morning.  Light creeps through the blinds and she exclaims exuberantly, "Time to get up!  The sun is up!"  I rub her little arm and kiss the birthmark near her right shoulder.  She giggles and tries to wiggle away.  Blue-green glistens and the sweetness around her eyes crinkles with delight. 

I try to think of more.  Frantically I rack my brain for clear memories.  I think of the last day.  We stop at an outlet for Cameron to buy some running shoes.  I sit on a bench next to a bin of miniature basketballs.  She picks out the pink and black one and tries to bounce it.  I try to show her how to dribble it, but there is not enough air in the ball.  She won't try the others because they are boy colors.  We walk outside to wait, and tiny fingers are laced through mine.  She says we should lay on the bench.  I laugh and say I think I will sit, but she can put her head in my lap if she likes.  She does.  The weight of her on me.  The last time.  We squint, and I remember I left my sunglasses by the basketballs.  I stand by the door and watch as she bounces her way back to retrieve them for me.  I thank her, and she says "What for?"  I say for getting my glasses.  She smiles, grabs my hand, and says, "Oh mommy!"

Later we wait again while daddy looks for shirts.  I take her to the restroom; then she climbs up onto the chair beside me and says "Now what can we do?" with her arms up in a gesture of bewilderment. We play "I spy," and a woman walks by and smiles at us.  I wonder what she would think if she knew my baby would be dead in a few hours.

Every time my eyes are open during the night, I am grasping memories.  Trying to live in them.  Then this morning we get the call.  The slowly creaking wheels of the judicial system are finally moving.  A motion has been filed to try the young man who killed her as an adult.  The hearing is next Tuesday at 12.  I think I will throw up. Are we ready for this?  Are we ready to hear the first decision... to see the man?  I choose with my will to forgive him whenever he crosses my mind.  But forgiveness does not negate the need for justice.  My memory of his face is foggy.  Do I want to let that change?  Will he be tried as an adult?  Whatever his sentence turns out to be in this onerous process, his family can still touch his face, hear his voice, kiss his cheeks...

I put the babies down for a nap.  I can hear them fussing as I almost run to the bedroom on the other side of the house.  The wailing sound startles even me.  Can that animal like noise be coming from my mouth?  I cannot stop it.  The groans and cries come from a deep pit of agony... a place no one should visit.  I just want my baby.  I don't want answers or logic.  I just want my baby!  In my arms, cheek to cheek, kissing all over her sweet face.  To hear her voice.  To touch her warm skin.  To hold her close.  Not just in the memories that I cling to.  I fight against the feeling that she was never real.  Never really here.  Invisible.  A part of a memory or feeling that can only be conjured up in the mind.  All I have left of her is a lock of golden hair.   Wrapped in a delicate white cloth.  In a wooden box.  In my dresser drawer...

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