This story is by Jenna Lynn Diaz and was part of our 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
The day is dark and damp, a sense of ugly darkening everyone’s moods, but she does not take notice. The moment her eyes detect him, everything around her dissolves and her focus lies solely with him.
She falls in love with him in the fall, as the last of the leaves wither away and the first rains hydrate the soil.
It is love at first sight.
Before, she’d have laughed at such a thought. Love at first sight? Only in fairytales does that happen. Yet as his large, naive eyes look up into her’s for the first time, she knows that he will be her’s forever. At 6 pounds 7 ounces, with soft, fine blonde hairs, he is her soulmate. No one, she is certain, will ever come between the two of them.
The doctors say something, most likely trying to garner her attention, but she does not take care to actually listen. Instead, she just looks down and stares, enraptured by the small, fragile being laid upon her breast.
Her heart swells with how much love she already feels for the innocent boy she will forever call “son.”
She giggles like a school-girl, wipes her eyes, and pulls him in close, kissing his forehead.
The first layer of white has covered the grass throughout the night in large, fluffy pillows, and those silver crystals are still falling from the sky. The days are bright and fresh, enchanting the sky, making the season all the more lovely to her.
He has grown so much, yet his dark eyes shine the same way they had when he had been only moments old: innocent, fresh, not yet scarred by the viciousness of the world.
As he runs about, trekking his way through the freezing desert that has become their back yard, she smiles. His stubby little legs struggle greatly to kick through the thick snow, but he manages, a huge smile brightening his chubby face with every large step.
To passer-byes, he probably looks ridiculous: his small body bundled into a thick, puffy winter jacket, tiny feet squeezed into a pair of red rain boots, running through snow that comes up to his waist. She, however, finds the sight to be precious.
She sets off after him, chasing his small body all around the yard, twisting this way and that. Deep trails follow after them, but they are soon covered up again with the pressure of the falling snow.
Unexpectedly, as she’s still twisting around a corner, trying to dodge a branch that’s leaking over from the neighboring yard, he drops. He rolls back up moments later, snow in hand. Before she can react, move away, it is all over her face. Shocked, she just stands in that spot for a moment, but smiles widely and moves again when she hears him howl with mischievous laughter.
She wipes the snow from her face slowly.
This one lands right on her nose.
She wipes her face once more, grins, and then laughs out loud in a mockery of an evil scientist. Quickly, before her boy can piece together what her actions mean, she dives for him. She tackles his small body to the frozen pillows gently, his laughter right in her ear as she presses the cold snow against his clothed belly.
He squeals and twists as she lifts his coat and shirt, now pressing the snow against his naked tummy.
Wiggling, he manages to escape her hold and crawl away quickly. She laughs maniacally, dramatically, grasps her son’s little foot, and pulls. This time, instead of the snow, she presses her frozen lips to his belly and neck, pressing the tip of her frozen nose against his warmer skin, igniting laugh after laugh.
Just as the days begin to cool and the sky begins to grow gray, her heart to ache for him.
Today is his first day of second grade.
Before, when he’d been in school previous years, she had still been able to spend much of her time with her little boy. Now, though, class is a full day, and she has less time with him.
As a storm rages inside of her, dark and deadly, her little boy is openly excited. His eyes are wide and bright with the thought of seeing his friends and then continuing on to make more. The smile on his face rivals the sun with how bright it is.
One little hands grips the strap of his backpack tightly as his other grasps at his mother’s hand just as hard, unmasking the nervousness he is feeling.
Her own hand clutches his just as tightly, her smile tight and her eyebrows screwed together. She doesn’t want him to be gone all day.
A friend of his screams for him, dragging his attention to him. He looks up at her and she nods, letting go of his hand. Immediately, he rushes off, shouting his own hello to the friend he had seen continuously this summer.
She smiles at his antics and waves at the other little boy’s father. His face seems just as tight as here, pinched in all the right places to trick young children into believing one is happy.
She’s glad to know that she is not the only one who does want her precious baby to leave her for a full seven hours.
She sighs as the first bell rings and calls her son back. He rushes up with his smile planted firmly on his thinner face. She kneels down and pulls him close, pressing his body into her side, his head tucked firmly under her chin. She holds on for several long moments and only pulls back when he laughs and begins to pull away. She laughs as well and pushes forward to kiss his cheek.
She smiles once more then gives him a little nudge.
His smile doesn’t leave as he runs towards the building and meets with his other friends.
Her heart is heavy as she walks away.
The day is sunny and breezy; the leaves swish loudly and the sun peeks from behind the church.
To her, though, this day is dark and drippy. It was supposed to be a day of happiness and love for him. She finds it to be great and depressing all in one.
Today, she loses her baby boy to the one thing she’s tried to prevent his whole life: growing up.
Today, she is no longer his whole world. He has his own now.
For fourteen years he was her’s. For fourteen years she was his.
Now, though She will be his world. They met at their orientation, having been placed in the same group. They had gotten along immediately.
And that’s the problem: She came and just never left.
She watches with tight eyes as he leads Her from the car, his hand cupped gently in Her’s.
For so long her’s was the hand he’d grip onto. Her heart burns and her eyes water with the thought that, from this day on, there will always be another Her draped along his side.
She sounds ridiculous, she knows; it is only a date, not a wedding. But it is still her baby boy.
He turns around just as they are about to walk through the door.
His smile has not changed once throughout these years: there still is that small spark of mischievousness, hidden behind pure happiness. There still is that gleam in his eyes; love so bright in them that it nearly hurts to look at them.
He waves quickly at her and smiles longer still.
Despite the thunder-storm raging through her, eating her from the inside, she smiles back, her own eyes shining and wet, her smile wide. She kisses her hand and blows.