It must be after midnight. The cars that normally rev by the house are few and far between now, and the only sound nearby is that from Danith, his breaths deep and long. I think I heard a coworker say something about there being a full moon tonight (that was the reason for the internet server acting erratically?), so maybe that is why light is glowing through our two side-by-side windows. Often, on a night such as this, I would wake Danith, needing him to know that my heart is heavy. Tonight, I will carry the weight on my own.
I don’t normally dream about Daffy and Kiri. Actually, I can count only on one hand the number of times I did. The last dream was several months ago. In it, I walked by two toddlers, maybe a three-year-old and a one-year-old. They were standing against a cement wall, and I strolled past them. I quickly retraced my steps, urgency suddenly filling my chest. “Do you know who I am?” I asked. The older one, a girl, spoke confidently, “Yes, you are our mother.” The urgency that I had once felt was replaced by satisfaction: they know me. I woke up pleased that my children knew they were not without a mother.
My mind won’t rest, so I stare out the glowing windows, at the silhouette of the topiary that sits on my desk in front of the windows. My head once again turns into a field, where its only inhabitants are Daffy and Kiri. Sometimes the field is green with wildflowers and a random tree; this time, it’s nondescript. My stillborn daughter, who was born not in the best form physically, is about four years old. She is poised, a serious girl of few words. Her dark hair swings at her earlobes, and she wears a simple cotton dress that comes down to her knees, a red sash around her waist. My son with his round cheeks and sweet perfect lips is about two years old. He wears light blue short overalls with a white shirt underneath. As they wander the field, he skips around his sister, careful to heed her instruction not to stray too far. He loves her, trusting her unconditionally. He is a playful little boy, his eyes wide with excitement and possibilities. But he is quick to listen to his sister, and he tugs at the hem of her skirt when he is frightened, which is rarely. Daffy dotes on her baby brother in her reticent way. Making sure that he stays clean and fed is more important than playing marbles or chase with him, which he seems to want to do at all times. On the rare occasion that he scrapes his knee or cries, she pulls him close. Her hugs are stiff, but solid and warm.
Usually, I am a silent audience to the scenes in my head. These scenes of my children hardly vary, and I describe them to Danith whenever the chance arises. Lately, he and I have allowed ourselves the belief that our children are together; this helps the minutes of our days to tick by more quickly. Tonight, that belief is not enough. After Daffy died, Danith said to me, “She is looking down at you, and she is waiting for her momma.” “I don’t want her to be waiting for me,” I said. I explained that I did not want our daughter to feel the ache of yearning for me or missing me. I want her head and her heart to be free, to be consumed only by the number of cupcakes she should eat, the dandelions that she would blow at, the silliness of her daydreams. Tonight, I am afraid that our children are not wandering around freely. From the scenes in my head, I am afraid they are searching for their momma, waiting for her. I wish they would not know my yearning.