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.
Your word limit is 600.