Temporary Insanity

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White. His face, so white, like the first gently falling snowflakes of December.

They had met in December, she remembered, her shadow and his in the middle of an endless white field. It was graduation. He had smiled at her, and she remembered thinking how pretty his long lashes looked dotted with tiny flakes of snow. He smiled at her because he told her he was leaving; leaving for a place very, very far away. And no, he couldn’t; he wouldn’t, bring her with him.

And so she had waited. Waited for an eternity, two eternities, until he had come back just like he’d promised. She smiled. Their wedding, their first time, their baby Jack.

She boiled water, added coffee, added sugar, and poured it down the sink. She hated sugar. She poured another cup of water and added coffee, added milk, added sugar, and held it in her hands.

Baby Jack lay in his little playpen, smiling at her from where she sat on the window ledge, her feet dangling over the eleven stories below.

She smiled back at baby Jack, put down the coffee, then climbed down from the window and picked him up in her arms. She loved him, because she loved his father. He had loved to smile too. He’d smile at her all day, when she woke up, before she slept, whenever he saw her. He smiled, because she liked it when he smiled, and he liked it when she was happy.

When he smiled, his eyes would melt, just like how baby Jack was smiling at her now. His long, long lashes like a million thin needles blinking at her.

Baby Jack doesn’t look like her at all. He had his nose, and looked so much like him. His eyes, exactly like his. His brows, his mouth – but baby Jack’s mouth was red, so much redder than his colorless lips the last time she saw him, laying on a white piece of cloth on top of a small bed, in a very enclosed room. So suffocating. How he looked, his lips almost transparent. She could see the blue veins underneath his skin, so pale.

When his lips were red, he’d promised her that day in the snow, he wouldn’t ever leave her alone again, ever, never. But he had lied.

He never came back for dinner that day, even though she’d told him not to be late. He’d promised, smiling, still smiling, forever smiling. But when she saw him again, he wouldn’t speak to her, he wouldn’t kiss her, wouldn’t even hug her and smile at her.

Jack lay in her arms, sucking on his bottle. The milk, so white, like his face, the snow, white, everything is white. She hated white. He was still smiling, his lashes moving up and down, up and down, pricking, like needles, her heart. He smiled. She had always hated his smile.

She took the bottle from him, and stretched her arms out of the window. He hung in there, the wind, so gentle, running through his hair. He was so small. When did he become so small? She withdrew one arm, took her coffee, ah, so warm, love sugar. He was heavier with one hand, too heavy. She looked at him, his smile, so annoying, so she said, “Bye-bye.”

And she watched him fall.





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