More Than This

This was not how her life had been meant to turn out.

She sighed as her twin 22 month old boys raced through the house and braced herself against the impact as they both slammed headlong into her, one on each leg, babbling in a language only they seemed to understand.

Like they were powered by jet packs, they took off again, sailing into the other room, clamoring over the toys as they laughed and played, shrieks and giggles carrying through the otherwise silent house.

Every single day she struggled, grasping, trying to find something more than this… this.. more than this.

More than these toys strewn haphazardly across every available surface begging to be used as a weapon against bare feet and siblings.

More than dirty diapers, runny noses and food-covered clothing. More than drool and vomit and wondering what that sticky mess actually was on any area within reach of pudgy little fingers.

More than the emptiness and solitude and desolation that filled everything around her.

She had been tucked, quite untidily, into this role without ever having seen it coming.

She wearily rested her forehead in her hands, leaning over on the counter for support. What the hell had happened?

It might have been doable had she not been left to do this alone. If he was still here with her, maybe she wouldn’t be left feeling so helpless and overwhelmed. Maybe. She had already discovered that all the pain and anger and guilt in the world weren’t enough to bring him back. It had been three of the longest weeks of her existence, with no end in sight.

”Dead on impact,” the solemn-faced young officer had told her. Those three little words had been left hanging in the air in front of her, suffocating in their magnitude. After that, only fragments of what he said had actually reached her through the ringing in her ears.

”Drunk driver… Median… Head on… Sorry for your loss.”

Tears threatened again, though it seemed impossible there could be anything left. What the hell could he possibly know about her loss?

”Hey, I’m on my way home. Do you need anything?” Five minutes out of his way to grab a much needed cappuccino for her on the way home. So she could relax for a few minutes and maybe get enough of a boost to stay up and finish everything that needed doing.

That one tiny detour destroyed her life. Her family’s life. Her face dropped into her hands and she wept freely for what felt like the hundredth time that day.

The baby began to wail inconsolably in the other room, the screams and antics of his brothers once again serving to wake him from a nap that was all too short. Sighing, she brushed away her tears and headed to his crib, scooping him up and holding him tightly to her, breathing in his baby scent. He nuzzled his face into her neck and she allowed herself to be calmed by his breaths and soft baby noises.

The twins scampered into the nursery, racing over to see what all the commotion had been. She wiped the remaining dampness from her cheeks.

“Lub you, Mommy!” they chorused as they latched tightly to her legs with tiny arms. She reached down, marveling at them as she tousled their blonde curls. Their father’s curls.

“Love you, too, babies.”

They always seemed to know when she needed more.

And this… this was more.
____________________

This post is a work of fiction written in response to a prompt by The Red Dress Club.

This week’s Red Writing Hood assignment is to write – fiction or non-fiction – about a time when you took a detour. Where had you intended to go and where did you end up?

Your word limit is 600.

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About Caitlin's Concepts

Mom to 4 boys and drowning in a sea of testosterone!
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24 Responses to More Than This

  1. Sad and beautiful. Well done.
    “Like they were powered by jet packs,”
    I love that, it so describes little boys.
    And the loss, so heavy.

  2. cristina says:

    you have me in tears.. oh, damned cappuccino!

  3. I was distressed for her without knowing of her loss. So very well written, full of anguish and sorrow.
    I can see why you would have had a hard time getting this written, even without little distractions.

    • Thank you! I think it was actually more that I needed to piece together what I needed to keep and what I needed to lose.. because this was not the original path of this storyline. At all. It’s almost strange to me that this was where it went.

  4. After reading this all of the crap I complained about today seems so silly.
    I have so much to be grateful for.
    Thank you for this reminder.

  5. Jessica says:

    Chills, so powerful in its sadness.
    My favorite line “She had been tucked, quite untidily, into this role…”

  6. We’ve all been at the end of our rope with kids. Couldn’t imagine doing it w/ such young kids after such a tragedy.

  7. tracy says:

    So sad and moving. So well written.

  8. Nichole says:

    Just heartbreaking.
    This line broke my heart… “More than the emptiness and solitude and desolation that filled everything around her.”
    So incredibly sad.

    Well done!

  9. Diana says:

    So very well done. Nothing harder than 3 babies in 2 years….except having to care for them alone in the midst of stultifying grief. Palpably told. Thanks.

  10. Jack says:

    Even though this was sad your line about jetpacks made me smile. That described my kids so very well.

  11. Brandon says:

    I’m with the chorus of voices here on the jetpacks. That was cute.

    I’ll be honest I was afraid this wasn’t fiction. I have met so many people in such a short time, I was scrambling to remember if I had heard of your loss or not… Toying with people’s emotions like this is somewhat rude… 😉

    Great piece. I have no concrit for you. You said the muse pulled you this way; she knew what she was doing. Fantastic!

  12. Galit Breen says:

    This post was perfection.

    I hung onto every single word.

    And I want to hug her and bring her a cappuccino.

    Thank goodness its fiction!

  13. Selena says:

    Wow. I complain and feel overwhelmed all the time but I am blessed with my guy to alleviate the insanity of it all.

    This made me stop and think…and I felt her guilt over the cappucino in the pit of my stomach. UUUUGGGHHHH…So good to read.

  14. Katie says:

    Oh I want to hug this woman. The heartbreak, but stress, the overwhelming weight of all this.

    I think this captured exactly what terrifying words can do: “Those three little words had been left hanging in the air in front of her, suffocating in their magnitude.” How hearing something awful can take our breath away and crumble us.

    This was so sad, yet so nicely written.

  15. CDG says:

    This was powerful, and spare. You pack a lot of punch into a small space.
    I have to admit, I though I was going to be angry, like he left her.

    So to have him taken from her was even more brutal.

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