Monday, October 10, 2011

A 2 Z: Unmatched

My friend and amazing writer, Jan Ackerson, has a flash fiction blog where she posts stories that are each exactly 100 words long. Last month she held a contest inviting people to take one of her stories or a character from a story and expand upon it. I used post 26 for mine. My original title was "Just Like You" but I decided this title would go with the story and make it fit this week's post. Here's my version:


UNMATCHED

By Amy Michelle Wiley


Her skin is a rich chocolate brown. She coos and waves a dark fist at me, her cheeks plumping, almost smiling.

He won’t get to see her first smile.

I look at her, really look for the first time since the funeral. She has his skin, his dark hair that will surely turn into a curly, tangled mess when it gets longer. And his eyes. Hers are still the dark blue of newborns, but I can tell already that they’ll darken. Will they ever hold the same expressions as his? Like that twinkling brightness he would get when I’d done something he found amusing, but didn’t dare laugh aloud at. Or the darkening that let me know he felt my pain, felt my hurt, whatever it might be.

What minor heartaches they were back then. Only weeks ago I had no idea what true pain was. Those twinges were nothing compared to the shattering blow I now know is possible.

I pick the baby up and hold her by the mirror. My face looks shockingly white. Even the dark circles under my eyes are pale compared to the newborn I cradle. She is so much of him. I should feel thankful, happy I have this constant part of the man I lost.

But something selfish in me wants to see myself, too. If I have only him in my thoughts I will drown, lost in the sea of grief. I need something that is both of us, mixed together, making perfection in a tiny bundle that is equally me.

Her face turns up, curious at the mirrored reflections, and I search her features, looking for something in her bone structure, in the shape of her nose, anything. My shoulders slump and I turn away, settling her into the stroller. We leave the house and the cold wind bites through my jacket, a chill seeping all the way to my bones.

I tuck the blanket more tightly around her and walk toward the subway station. My hands and feet move without me, leaving my heart—my soul—far behind.

Someone helps me close the stroller and stow it. I settle on the cold train bench, the baby’s body a warmth against my chest. I notice nothing until a voice breaks through. I look up, focus my eyes, and see a young girl watching me, her body straight and eyes alert.

“Hey.” She points toward us. “That baby looks just like you.”


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The baby picture was photographed by Simon Gray and the stroller by Kriss Szkurlatowski .

As always, find more "U" posts in the "From A 2 Z 4 U & Me" meme at www.pattywysong.com and feel free to jump in with your own blog.

8 comments:

Chely said...

Well done, Amy. Lovely.

Robert said...
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Em said...

What a touching story!

Joanne Sher said...

Beautiful and tear-inducing story, Amy. Powerful.

Rita Garcia said...

Wiping the tears! Heart touching, lovely, beautiful and SOOO well written! Hugs!

Laury said...

Nice story, Amy:)

Shelley Ledfors said...

Beautiful, Amy! What a poignant, powerful story.

Niki Turner said...

Ooh. Pulled me right in! Well done!