Prologue: "A mother's troubled thoughts."
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Maybe it was because of the rain. It had to be rain. I prayed it was the rain. Please, just let it be the rain. I had to blame her restless sobbing on something, anything. I always did. Having a reason would stop me from worrying so much.
"Tonight, it's the rain."
No amount of rocking or humming would keep her quiet. She was clean, I fed her plenty, and I swear she was healthy. What in the world could make a child so hysteric? I took her downstairs as always, swaying my body to comfort her. It never worked.
I was as helpless as she was, shuffling through the house with heavy eyes. Are you cold? Hot? Did you have a nightmare? Is the rain keeping you up? Oh how I wish you could tell me! Mama's here to make it better I promise.
"Maybe mama wasn't so good at this."
Should I call someone? No, I had already called the doctor earlier. She was my daughter, I had to figure it out on my own. I had to do this alone.
I sat on the rocking chair by the porch screen with her wailing as loud as ever, drowning out the storm outside. Exhaustion weighed down my eyes, bringing the burden of tears along with it. Tears meant to somehow relieve me from this uncertainty and loneliness.
I held it all back, not knowing how much more of this stress I could afford to bear. I tried to regulate my breathing. If I was calm, I prayed, she would be calm.
What else could I do? Would I ever be able to do enough for you? It seemed as though it was the same routine every night, and every night I chose yet another culprit guilty of causing her discomfort.
"I can't do this, not by myself."
With eyes that pleaded for answers, I looked into her face, red with the strain of sobbing. The house had always felt the emptiest once her cries echoed through it. That's enough, that's enough already! Don't make Mama go through this again!
It was no use. I felt so alone with her frantic and vulnerable in my arms, so ready to fall apart. It would be easy to cry as she did, and turn into a child again. I could simply rinse away with the beat of the storm and rolls of thunder that seemed closer with every
moment. It'd be fine if my eyes finally shut and let go of all the weight. It was not worth holding it in anymore, not now with all of this sadness and fear that cut away at the inside of my throat. There had to come a point where I should just…
"Give up on your daughter."
Wait. Open. With a painful swallow the heaviness cowered back into my chest. It scraped through my throat and burned it merciless, but my eyes were open I made sure of it.
The timing could not have been any less perfect, for at that moment, my daughter lay with her own eyes finally open, sniffling and shaking yet somehow calmer. Catching their stare into my own, I could see it. It was so subtle anyone else would have missed it.
But I knew. It was a look too familiar to forget, and so purely blue. Those were his eyes. Had I not noticed them like this before?
Suddenly I felt as though I had known my daughter longer than she had been alive. I understood her helplessness, her sadness, her discomfort. I knew then there was no weight to scorch my throat or blindfold me.
There was only my daughter and I, and it wasn't lonely. With that courage I saw in her stare… it was relieving.
"Listen, you can actually hear it now. The rain sounds kind of nice don't you think?"