keeping time

Posted: September 14, 2019 in Uncategorized, writings
Tags: , , ,
1

image: via pinterest

She was as old as he was new. She watched him jump on the bed, Maria asleep next to him, her form rising up and sinking down at the waist and rising up again before stretching into a long slant. A slant that twitched now and then to the rhythm of a dream. The few drops of milk that were left in his fallen sipper disappeared, seeping into the blanket. A spot, moist and heavy with the smell of sour, its only evidence. He didn’t notice. If he did, it did not matter to him.

She trudged toward the bed just as Maria let out a low snore. Her arthritic knees were creaky. The little boy jumped again, his knees like oiled spring. He bounced. She creaked. She made to grab him.

In the deep recesses of her sleep, Maria heard a loud and surprised squawk of protest, a rising wail that settled into whimpers between a hip and the curve of an arm, whimpers that quieted under a palm, its skin liver-spotted and wrinkled. It was a hand that knew time, a hand that patted its seconds. Time slowed to a stop.

Maria awoke to his tiny body huddled next to her, an expression of mild surprise still etched on his face. In the periphery of slowly returning consciousness, she saw a silver form glide into the twilight that stained the world outside just as a flash of chill exploded in her heart. She blamed it on her sleep-ridden eyes, her wine-addled blood. The clock in the drawing room chimed six times. In the echo of its last chime curved an old smile.

© Anuradha Prasad 2019

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