I cracked. I broke down. I let my family down. I couldn’t do it. It’s been months since Chloe was born. More months and I could even count. I was just in bed, I’ve barely moved. I don’t even really have to go to the bathroom I never really eat. Sarah would bring in all my favorites to me. Bless her. But I just couldn’t get myself to eat them really. A couple bites here and there. She would force me to drink every so often so I didn’t get sick. I felt like I was. I felt terrible. I felt numb and empty. I didn’t even feel whole anymore.
I would just lie in bed. Sometimes I’d watch some TV, not much though. I usually just turn it off and sleep. Saint was always curled up with me. We would eat together. He would eat all the food Sarah gave him as I had my little meal every so often. He is my comfort object right now. He is my pillow, he is my rock. He curls up with me in bed and move around till he was comfortable. He made me move, like he was making sure I was okay every so often. I love him so much. I still remember bottle feeding him as a puppy. He really is my baby. Maybe that’s why I’m standing here now, looking into my mirror as I throw my hair into a ponytail.
The last months I haven’t gone to school. I’d stayed home and stayed in my room. I really never left. I really felt bad when Sarah and Dad had to finally bring JJ home. They had kept him away from so long. But I couldn’t look at him, I couldn’t hold him. He reminded me so much of her. I just…couldn’t. Tucker still comes by. I wish he had someone better as I just lay on the bed not talking. I haven’t talked since the funeral. I had no need to. I found no comfort in the sound of my voice. Why use it? Tucker would put my homework on the desk and strip down and cuddle my back.
I couldn’t do anything in return. I knew he was blaming me for losing her. I was her mother, I should have known better. He deserves so much better. Not a mute, stupid girl, who wouldn’t even keep a baby. I could hear people at times, talking outside my door. I knew my parents were scared. Dad was terrified he was going to lose me. He was talking to the family and thinking of sending me away to live with Harold or one of my Grandparents. I didn’t want to go. Could I be away from my baby? But I never even had been back to the cemetery since the funeral.
Sarah was speaking for me though. But it wouldn’t last long. I knew I was just being too sad. It’s been months of me just crying and sleeping in bed. There was nothing more to it. I just cried till I couldn’t cry anymore. There were no more tears now. My eyes were raw red; my cheeks were smooth from all the water but blotchy from my rubbing. I looked like a mess. It felt like I had no hope left. My dreams were plagued with fanaticizes of what it would have been like, the three of us.
Why was here in my bathroom, wet hair, red skin. I don’t really know how I got here. All I remember is seeing that same blue butterfly on my window sill. I felt hope. Just that one little butterfly gave me all this hope. I stood up and showered. I scrubbed the pain and depression off my skin. Well the grim too, hadn’t really had to take too many showers lately. I washed my hair, brushed all the knots out. I could do this. I could be strong. What was that only saying I lived by? What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. This is one of those moments. That’s what my life was always like. If I could live, I could get past it. All those beating, the pain, the muscle aches. I could do this. I can get past my loss. It might be long, it might take forever. But I can do this.
I see now why Dad freaked out on me. I ran my fingers down my ribs. They looked horrid. Like someone who was a prisoner who was starved by the enemy. The skin clung to them stowing everyone. I looked sick, like I was dying. I understood my Dad’s fear. It was time for me to stop being selfish and live. I pulled on my clothes giving Saint one final strong hug as he wagged his tail before walking out. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. I walked down the stairs to the living room. Dad looked like he had aged 10 years in the past couple months. He had worry lines etching his face. He’s still young. He had me when he was 19, which was only 18 years ago. Sarah was sitting on the couch watching JJ as he played on the ground.
“Hi,” They both looked up at me blinking in shock.
“Hey Sweetheart. Would you like something to eat?” She asked standing up. JJ smiled at me watching me happy. I had been avoiding him since the funeral. I just couldn’t. But he’s my little brother, he doesn’t deserve this. He’s just a baby.
“No, no I’m good.” She watched as I walked down the stairs as Saint came running after me. “Daddy, would you take me somewhere?” He blinked. I hadn’t talked this much in a while. My voice is still rough.
“Sure Lightening.” I nodded. I needed this. I know I did.
“Great.” I smiled handing him my keys to the mustang. “Let’s go.” He nodded still in shock. We drove into town to the place I was looking for. Grand Belle Tattoos.
“Car, you sure this is the right place?” He asked looking at me. I nodded. This is where I wanted to be. I wanted to have a part of her. Other than her monkey, which is still on my bed right now.
“Yeah. Will you wait with me?” He nodded as he parked and we walked in. A Blonde tattooed girl smiled at us as we walked in.
“How can I help you?” She was sweet, young, and happy. I could help but smile back.
“I’d like a tattoo drawn up to get.” She nodded waving to a man in the back. “Colby this lovely lady would like a tattoo.” He smiled. He was young, not as young as the blonde sitting at the front desk or me. He had to be in his mid-twenties.
“You came to the right place. How can I help you?” I pulled out a piece of paper from my pocket. I had printed it out before I showered. I knew what I wanted to have for the rest of my life. I handed him the paper. He nodded his eyes almost saddening. “You want me to draw these out?” I nodded quickly pulling up my hoodie sleeves showing him my two wrists.
“I want them here. Two of them.” He looked at the picture and my wrist.
“I can do that Sweetheart. It’ll take a couple of minutes to draw them up.” We sat down as he walked back.
“What made you think of swallows?” Dad asked putting his arm around my shoulders.
“I used to remember what you said. About what they mean.” I said laying my head on his shoulder.
“About the old Navy tale?” I nodded. “When a swallow flies it takes your soul back to your family so you can be buried. Or it takes your soul up to heaven.” I closed my eyes as he rubbed my shoulders.
“I’ve got it all drawn up. You ready?” I nodded standing up walking to the seat he sat next to. “I need you to put your wrists up.” He put the stencil on my wrist. “So, you want to talk about it?” I looked up at him as he picked up the tattoo gun.
“About the tattoo?” I shrugged as he started. “I uh, it’s for my daughter.”
“You know, my wife has been in your shoes too.” He looked up at me. “We lost ours back when we were in our twenty’s.” He sighed. “We were never as young as you though.” He knew my age as I had to give him my driver’s license to show my age.
“It hurts.” I whispered the tears forming in my eyes. H put the gun down taking my hands in his.
“Look at me.” I looked up. “It doesn’t get easier. The pain is going to be there.” Well that helps. “But you get better at dealing with it. You’re always going to miss her. But she’s still here. Right here.” He tapped my head gently. “You don’t let the pain consume you completely.”
“It’ll get better?” He nodded.
“You just have to weather the storm. How’s the Father taking it?” I sighed looking down as he started off again.
“I don’t know. I haven’t even talked to him in months.” I could feel the tears coming.
“Car, you haven’t talked to anyone in months.” Dad said as the blonde gave him a chair to sit in.
“I should have helped him more. I’m crap.” The tattoo artist looked at him.
“You’re Dad’s right Carson; you’ve just been through a lot.” He changed to a grey color.
“I miss him.” I bit my lip.
“After this go to him. Talk it out.” My mind was jumbled for the rest of the hour. What if Tucker didn’t want to see me anymore? What if we were done? Could I even take the rejection? “You’re all done.” He smiled at me as I looked down at my wrists. It was two swallows facing each other with Chloe’s name and weight under it. On the other wrist was Mommy’s angel.
“Thank you.” I smiled at him. He pulled out a card writing down an address and a phone number.
“My wife runs a group for miscarriages and still born babies.” He gave me the card. “If you ever need someone to talk to who knows what you’re going through, we’re here.” I put the number in my pocket.
“Thank you.” I smiled giving him the money. We left. We walked out of the store….
I knocked on the door waiting for it to open. I took a deep breath. “I’m coming.” His voice said as he opened the door. “What do - Carson?” He asked shocked.
“Can we talk?” I asked. He opened the door as I walked in.
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