Fiction Fragment Friday: Untitled

An excerpt from an untitled work-in-progress. This one returns to my lyrical prose.

Under a concrete sky riddled with wounds, rain bulleted down like ammo, like weapons. Her home once smelled like warm bread rising and her mother’s chest like a baby’s inhalations and exhalations, milky and sweet. When she slept, she was safe, a daddy in the rocking chair in the east, a mama breathing slowly in her bed as her dreams took her Elseplace.

The child never wanted. If she desired a shortbread cookie, her daddy would find her one. If the satin ribbon she curled around her pudgy fingers slipped, a brother would crouch to the floor and retrieve it, looping it back around her fingers.

They all loved the baby. She slept all the time and awoke gently for her bottle or breast and fell back into a dreamless sleep. When the storms struck when she was still young enough to suck a finger to sleep, they riveted her. Her brown eyes glittered like shards of glass as her gaze followed the forks of lightning shattering the sky.

The day she was born, her mama was tired, her body feeling like a car accident and her eyes heavy – raccoon eyes like bruises rimmed with exhaustion. The nurse had slipped into the room, her footsteps quiet and nimble like a ballerina, and woken up the baby’s mama.

The nurse held in her arms a tiny parcel. A package wrapped in blankets as heavy as a box of ceramic plates, yet as fragile as crystal. When her mama unwrapped the packaging, she looked surprised, her mouth formed a wide O. She refused the blanket-wrapped gift and pushed it away from her.

“It’s too beautiful to be my baby,” her mama had murmured.

This was only the first rejection, yet for the baby, the room felt inexplicably cold like an inhospitable womb or an endless tunnel. She had no control over her surroundings, yet when her mama turned away from her, she took the shunning personally.

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