I wrote this story for a challenge on another site. The challenge consisted of writing a story with a common object having a pivotal role in an angst story. Just a warning, this is a little strange, but I hope you like it.
Tattered Memory: A Blanket for Our Baby
When I think back on the days of my wife's pregnancy, one thing comes to mind. Mara was so in love with our unborn child that she sacrificed everything for him. The galaxy was in a time of war and tragedy, but for Mara and myself, those final weeks of her pregnancy were filled with wonder and hope.
I have a very distinct memory of Mara at eight months pregnant. At that point she was so big that she was having trouble getting around, and so she spent most of her time in bed. To help pass the slow days of bedrest, Mara had taken up a project: she would knit a baby blanket for our unborn son.
Now I must admit that I had my doubts. Mara had never been one for domestic activities such as this, but I was smart enough not to voice my concerns to my extremely hormonal former assassin wife.
It took her weeks to make, and after she began to grow ill again with her disease I was convinced that she would not be able to finish. But my Mara was always strong, and when she set her mind on something, she could accomplish anything.
Those last days were the most difficult. I think she knew then that she was slipping away, but it didn't stop her from working on the blanket. She told me that she wanted something to leave for our son: a memory for him to have of his mother.
By the time Mara went into labor, we knew there was no hope. At best, the medics would be able to save our son, whom she had so carefully guarded in her womb during her pregnancy. I knew that this news was a relief to her, but I couldn't accept it. My Mara couldn't die.
Soon she was gone, but her legacy remained. For hours afterwards I held our sleeping son in my arms. He was wrapped in Mara's creation; a baby blanket that was barely recognizable as anything more than a badly knitted piece of colorful cloth. But I held him like this for hours as I cried.
For the next several years my son Ben and his blanket were inseparable. I always believed that on some unconscious level it gave him a sense of comfort; as if it was his mother wrapped around him at night. The two of us quickly developed an evening routine. I would tuck him in bed at night and kiss him on the forehead. Then I would wrap Mara's blanket around him and softly brush my fingers against it too, as if I was saying goodnight to it as well.
We went through these steps every night for eight years. I never spoke to Ben about my need for the routine; he wouldn't understand. But I knew why it was so important to me- that blanket was the only real connection to Mara my son would ever have. She had spent hours every day in bed pricking herself with needles in order to accomplish something that in everyone else's opinion would have been impossible for Mara Jade. She had made our son a blanket, and I in turn would make sure that Ben knew the depth of that symbol of love.
But then the routine changed. On Ben's eighth lifeday I went into his room to tuck him in for bed. After his nightly kiss on the forehead, I picked up the blanket to wrap around my son. But before I got the chance, he placed his small hand on mine and stopped me. He told me he was a big boy now and that he didn't need a baby blanket anymore.
That night I crawled into my own bed and laid awake for hours. The now tattered blanket sat discarded on an old chair next to the bed. I couldn't help feeling that it was my wife's memory that had been tossed away. With a few silent tears rolling down my face, I leaned over and picked up the weathered old item. Running my fingers over the messy stitches and weaving, I closed my eyes. Right then it was as if I was with my Mara again.
Some would find it strange if they knew that I, a revered Jedi Master and grown man, slept with a child's blanket every night. They would not understand that the torn piece of cloth meant the world to me, and I would have no desire to explain myself to them. It was filled with my memories that no one had the right to take away.
Now my wife has been gone for twenty-five years. Although it has been decades since I last saw her beautiful face, whenever I touch that blanket it still takes me back. I no longer need it anymore though. Like my son on his eighth birthday, I am grown now. I can see my wife just by looking at our son. He has grown into a greater man than I had ever dreamed of being.
As I stood in my bedroom folding up the blanket, I knew it was time. Today I would take that final step of letting go. Raising the worn material to my lips, I brushed a soft kiss on it before I carried it out of my apartment.
I swiftly walked the several minutes it took to reach my destination. Not bothering to knock, I simply walked in unannounced. There were several people gathered around, many with beautiful new gifts in hand. Not giving them more than a polite glance, I walked straight to my son and daughter-in-law. Kneeling down next to the infirmary bed, I glanced into a pair of shining green eyes. Already, she looked like her grandmother.
I felt a hand on my shoulder, and when I looked up I saw Ben standing over me with the biggest smile I had ever seen gracing his face. Reaching into the bag next to me, I pulled out my gift.
I proudly noted how Ben's eyes lit up and a tear rolled down his cheek at the sight of what I had brought. His old baby blanket, torn and tattered from age and use. He smiled as he took the delicate package from me and carefully wrapped it around his baby girl. Now she could have a piece of the memories too.
What did you think? Please, please, please drop me a review and let me know!