I am bundled up in many blankets so that I cannot feel the chill of dawn sting my body. I am in a cocoon of warmth, bouncing slightly as the person carrying me walks at a rather rapid pace. I open my tiny little newly-formed eyes and curl my fat hands into fists. I breathe in and out and realize that this woman must be my mother. I glance up at her face and her expression puzzles me. Tears stream down her face, her arms and legs are shaking slightly, and every couple of moments she spins around giving me a different view of this new world. I see tall and rough things that have different colors of the earth ornamenting them. I wonder what these are called. The woman I have assumed to be my mother mutters,” Must hide under the trees. Come now Beth, you can’t fail now.” Aha trees! That's what these must be called. I chortle with my new discovery, yet this brings out a whole new look of horror on my mother's face. She fastens her pace, running through the dead earth and whipping through the giant pointy arms that are connected to these trees. We break into a clearing and the first traces of sunrise peep at us over the horizon. Mother pulls me closer to her, and I can now feel and hear her heart breathing rapidly. Her breaths come out in rasps. Her eyes sweep the clearing, looking for signs of something I have no idea of. Those eyes rake the entire place several long and tense times and I can feel her freeze a bit, ready to run at the slightest movement. She listens, straining her ears, so I decide to listen as well. Nothing. Its as if the very planet is trying to listen to whatever mother needs to hear. Once again I look up at her face, feeling puzzled. This time my gaze seems to dim the fright in her eyes. She strokes my chubby cold cheeks and her fingers are long and thin, unlike mine which are are short and fat. A thin wisp of black hair escapes from her loose ponytail and brushes against my bundled body. A new toy! I reach out my fat hands wrap them around the hair, jerking it in playful jerks. For a moment she winces with pain and yet a small chuckle escapes her mouth. And this is the small moment of warmth that costs my mother her life. An arrow sprouts at her hip. My mother screams with the pain but somehow manages to keep me against her. Without looking back we’re off once again, mother trying her best to stumble through the dead plants and sharp thorns and weeds that poke into her delicate feet. I am astonished to see a dark color coming out her wound. “Come on...must..get..to..the...River!,” Mother grits through her clenched teeth. Every step, placing one foot in front of the other becomes more difficult. She moans with pain as the dark color continues to drench her clothing. I begin to hear some loud noises behind us, and deep animal like sounds as well. We finally break into another clearing and there is water everywhere. There is a small structure that’s caved in, and it sits on the very surface of where the water hits the shore. It looks like some sort of basket. Mother clutches me in her arms, pressing her soft lips against my forehead and places me inside this basket. She looks at me one final time with those sorrowful eyes glazed with pain and then pushes me out onto the water and as she slowly begins to grow smaller and smaller, I somehow I know that I will never see her again.
A Mother and her Child
September 17, 2016