She carried the unwanted child on her hip. The child, two years of age, was blessed skin like the inside of a bathtub, and lips like two earthworms, curled upwards. The same worms wriggled though the woman’s heart everyday; Work was hard to come by in Ashland, money even more so. The child became a burden, her burden, to always carry. In a town as poor as the soil it was built on, the children who were loved did not have monkey bars to swing from or slides to climb up backwards, but there did exist a playground for the unwanted children. The woman shifted the child to her other hip, making the trek across town in worn-in tennis shoes and a blank expression. They passed a market, a school, and 7 churches, all welcoming visitors. It was mid afternoon when woman and child reached the playground. The woman released her without any hesitation and turned away as the child raced towards cross-shaped stone monuments, granite slabs etched with names and dates, and the best soil Ashland had to offer, upturned every once in a while to make room for a new box of bones complete with its own slab. She made castles made of dirt in this miniaturized Stonehenge, too occupied to notice the woman walking away. After days, weeks, months of playing in this heaven, the child herself began to return to the soil, not thinking of her mother’s abandonment, simply saying thanks to God for creating her playground.
August 11, 2010