Midnight

Tacoma, Washington, 2001 — Usually, the gentle back-and-forth of the rocking chair lulled Junior to sleep. At the moment, it didn’t seem like that would be happening anytime soon.

Not that Lizzie minded. She’d rather hear her son’s soft coos and feel his little hand curl around her finger.

Especially after tonight’s round of nightmares.

Stop. She told herself. You’re not going to think about those. Not for one second.

She needed to divert her attention somewhere else before it slipped and she would once more be fighting back the haunting images.

Henry. She could write another letter to him. The last one she’d written had been after Junior was born. She looked down at the infant. He made a face, then sneezed.

Lizzie smiled. “Do you want to help me write a letter to Daddy?”

Junior gave her a toothless smile in return.

“Let’s see…what should we tell him?” Lizzie’s gaze searched the darkened bedroom as she thought. “We can tell him about how you rolled over by yourself for the first time. And maybe about…how ticklish you are!”

With that, she gently tickled him and he burst into giggles.

Lizzie stood and headed to the living room. “We might as well write Daddy a letter, because I don’t think either of us is going to fall asleep anytime soon. She sat down at the desk and turned on the lamp, then grabbed her notebook and pen.

Junior seemed content to play with the corners of his blanket while she wrote. She wasn’t halfway through when he stretched and yawned.

A few seconds later, she yawned. “Okay, let’s go back to bed,” she said. “We can finish Daddy’s letter tomorrow.”

She turned off the light and closed the desk. Back in her room, she settled Junior back in the crib and then plopped back onto her bed.

She was asleep within seconds and this time, there were no more nightmares.


©H.S. Kylian 2018

(Critiques are welcome and appreciated!)

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