JAR.(disturbing image)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: October 24, 2008

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 24, 2008



Jane positioned the jar with a stillborn baby girl on the window ledge of her apartment. The sunlight warmed the jar and the baby, she thought gazing at it with a reverential stare. She had found the jar amongst other jars gathering dust in a hospital basement where she worked as a cleaner. She had moved the jars in the dingy place out of curiosity and there it was a small baby girl seemingly sleeping, eyes closed, with its right hand under its chin and its left hand upright as if to show five perfectly formed digits. It seemed to be lounging with its legs spread slightly, with the right foot raised showing a fine set of toenails. She moved forward now, turned the jar around in her hands, taking in the form of the baby, studying the way it sat in the liquid. She felt suddenly saddened. She thought about the two babies she had lost: one she had had aborted years before when she had become pregnant by some sailor who had fled abroad on his ship on hearing the news. She had gone to a back street house where she was told by a female friend an abortion could be performed in secret. Later she married, became pregnant, then her husband Jack was sent abroad with his regiment and killed a few months after they had found out about the baby. To add to her grief the baby was stillborn; she didn't want to know what happened to the baby afterwards. She left the hospital; set about trying to rebuild her life. The thoughts depressed her. She paused the jar in mid air, brought it up to her eyes and stared closer. Her stillborn had been a girl. Was this her baby? She mused, lifting the jar to the light, taking in the limbs, the fingernails, the perfectly formed body, head, tiny hands and feet. She sighed, felt tears fill her eyes. She laid the jar down on the window ledge. She remembered how she had smuggled the jar home out of the hospital in a bag, took it onto the bus, sat there with the jar close to her breast, her motherly instincts coming to the fore, pressing the bag close to her, sensing the nearness of the baby enclosed in the jar. The thoughts seemed too recent, so new, yet it was nearly a year since then, no one had missed the jar or mentioned it. It was hers now. Her baby girl, her lost Ellie, Ellie the one stillborn. She had aborted one, too. Boy or girl, she would never know. The thought pained her, never to know. Where had it gone? What had happened to it all? She moved away from the window, stood looking from a short distance away. Some aspect of her wanted to take the baby out of the jar, caress her, but she knew she couldn't. It had to stay there in its prison jar. She lit a cigarette, walked to the sideboard, took out a bottle of gin, poured herself a glass. She sipped it. She raised the glass to the jar, muttered a toast of sorts. The baby seemed peaceful, seemed unperturbed by its present home, the window ledge, the sunlight warming its head, the liquid embracing it. Jane wanted to embrace her baby, too, but knew she couldn't. It was hers now, her baby girl, her Ellie. Home safe and sound. Sleeping in her jar, dreaming of nothing, but peacefully done. Jane sipped her gin. Stared, sighed, felt the tears, watched the sunlight lighten the tone and shade of Ellie's skin, the warmth to ease whatever chill had been there at her time of death and the lost mother, now maybe, found.

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