St. Louis, Missouri, 1977 – A baby’s cries broke through the veil of sleep and awake. Laura Taylor yawned and sleepily muttered, “Will, could you-”
Her sentence trailed off as she caught sight of the empty opposite side of the bed. Oh…now she remembered. Her husband had gone on another job-related trip and wouldn’t be back for another two weeks.
At least he was there when Henry was born, she reminded herself as she got up and went to their son’s room.
“Hi, sweetie,” she said as she picked the five-month-old infant up. Almost immediately, his cries started to wane.
Laura rocked him back and forth on her way to the kitchen. By the time she’d finished preparing a bottle, Henry had calmed down and was happily playing with his mother’s blonde locks.
Laura smiled and gently pried his tiny hands away. She sat in the rocking chair and began feeding him.
“I’m sorry if I seemed slow,” she said. Another yawn came, and she felt her eyelids starting to grow heavy.
She shook her head in an attempt to keep herself awake. “I wonder where your daddy is,” she said. Talking aloud would probably help better than shaking her brain. “I hope he’s safe.”
From the moonlight coming through the window, she saw that Henry regarded her with curious jade green eyes…the same shade as William’s.
The bottle emptied. “You’re a fast eater,” Laura said, placing the bottle to the side and laying Henry against her shoulder to burp him.
He grabbed her hair, and she smiled. “Are you going to try eating my hair again?”
She heard him burp a few times, then settled him back in the crook of her arm. He continued playing with her hair.
“Sometimes, I wonder what you’ll do when you grow up,” she told him. “Mainly, I wonder about the man you’ll become.”
Henry started to stick her hair in his mouth, and she reached down beside the chair and grabbed something soft.
“Look, it’s your teddy bear,” she said, trading it for her hair. Henry grabbed the stuffed animal and started gnawing on one of the ears.
Laura bent over and kissed his forehead. “I love you, precious boy.”
©H.S. Kylian 2018
(Critiques are welcome and appreciated!)