Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Snippets 31

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Blow Me A Candy Kiss

by Joy Renee

part 5 of 5 (part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5)

Some time later, after mopping up the floor with handfuls of towels and bathing as best they could in the tepid salt-water, Iris and Greg once more submerged their turbulent need in the ocean of their love for one another. Afterwards, cradled in Greg’s arms among the love-tossed covers, with his warm, even breaths against her back, Iris felt herself sliding into sleep, as into a sea-grave, wondering if there was something wrong with her that she hadn’t yet cried for Candy Kiss.

Sleep denied her its longed for oblivion, offering instead a vision of Candy at about age three, with her mocha curls and espresso eyes. She was begging to go to the park, but Iris was busy and barely glanced at her when she told her "No." She ignored the brief tantrum that followed and hardly registered the sound of a slamming door in the distance. It was only when her absence began to weigh on her senses like white-noise, that she went in search of her.

She wandered through empty rooms haunted by Candy’s laughter and tears, but found no trace of Candy. A sense of doom was building to a crescendo within her and she began calling to Candy as she rushed through the sunless gloom of the house. Suddenly, light--a strange, pulsating, green-tinged glow like the presage of a tornado--flooded in on her from a window that hadn’t been there just moments before. She ran to it, pressing herself against it with panic. She saw Candy running across the yard, away from the house, straight towards the swirling, sucking creek that separated her from the park.

Iris pounded on the window, calling to her. But Candy did not pause in her headlong rush. She splashed into the water, spurning the bridge further on, and paddled towards the deepest part. The water took her, tumbling her about, then tossed her up on the far shore. Iris held her breath until she saw the tiny figure scramble up the steep bank. Then she began a frantic search for a way out of the house. She must bring back Candy Kiss. What would she tell Carla and Ron? How could they ever forgive her for losing their baby? How could she ever forgive herself?

She would get to her if she had to break the window and swim the creek herself. But the window had vanished, taking with it the numinous light and she kept losing her way in the catacomb of the house. Then it was too late, for Ron and Carla were there and she had to tell them what had happened. She was first bewildered, then outraged by their reaction. They seemed pleased at their daughter’s independent and adventurous spirit. They explained to her that parents began to learn on the day of their child’s birth how to let go, little bit by little bit. If Candy was ready to go to the park alone, who are we to stop her? "You’ll see." Carla reached out and patted the suddenly expanded balloon of Iris’ belly. "Soon now, you’ll understand."

"But she’s just a baby." Iris wailed. "You don’t let babies go anywhere alone." But they just smiled their sweetly patient smiles at her. She turned and ran from the room, continuing her frantic search for a way out, further hampered by tears of rage and fear. She stumbled into walls, she tripped and sprawled out on the floor only to struggle back to her feet and continue on.

Emptiness inflated within her and her belly, already grotesque in its immensity, continued to grow until she was forced to support it with her arms. The hollow weight of it like guilt, pulled her to her knees. She couldn’t bear it any longer. She felt forsaken. Not only by Candy and her parents but by her own humanity. She lay her forehead on the floor, her arms relinquishing their hold on her belly.

The pain attacked her like claws, beginning behind the breastbone and raking into her womb. She convulsed around the gross bulge, clutching at it. She tried to scream but could get no air into her lungs. The house filled with a howling noise and trembled as though gripped in the fist of a tornado. The pain came again, this time accompanied by a scalding gush of fluid. And she did scream. And she kept right on screaming, intending never to stop.

Then Greg was shaking her, calling her name, and she woke to find her face contorted by unshed tears. "I can’t…I can’t…I can’t…" she coked on words like foreign objects.

"I know, babe." he said. "I know." He held her against him for a long, long time as the dry sobs wracked her and his tears bathed her cheeks, sliding beneath her eyelids to free her own to flow. When they kissed, their mingled tears tasted of wine.


Four and a half months later, (the Vickerson’s having had to seek a court order to release their daughter from the machines) at the graveside service, when all the participants released helium filled balloons that each contained a single chocolate candy-kiss; at the moment when, standing on her toes and reaching for the sky, the string entwined about her fingers tugging at her--at that exact moment--Iris felt the first flutters in her womb and the sweet weight of it held her to the ground as she let go and the candy kisses blew over the treetops.

Four and a half months after that, Iris held her daughter to her breast. Kelsey Irene Vickerson opened her eyes and bathed her mother with her gaze, a singular baptism. When she sensed Greg at her side, Iris reached for his hand, weaving their fingers. He bent over to coo at his daughter. The sound of his voice drew Kelsey’s eyes to his face and a moment later she was pursing her lips in perfect imitation of him. "Better watch that," he said to her. "You’ll be earning the name Kiss before you know it." Iris laughed, a buoyant belly-laugh, joyously awed by this new life, this one-of-a-kind girl-child that lay on her lap, the weight of her like hope.


3 tell me a story:

Anonymous,  2/22/2008 7:30 PM  

Good ending. Satisfying. New life comes to take the place of the old.

Anonymous,  2/22/2008 8:45 PM  

Whoa, this was a really emotional, wonderful story. Great job, Joy! Thanks for sharing it with us.

Ann 2/23/2008 7:23 PM  

Wonderful story, great ending. Thanks for letting us read it. :)

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