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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Red Writing Hood: Her Mother's Smile

"Lyd?" He held his wife's hand. She squeezed. Knuckles white. Eyelids creased.  "Breathe, sweetie," he cooed, "You've gotta breathe."

The windows shook as the storm howled outside. Cocooning them inside with soft flakes. There would be no hospital. "Walter," she moaned, "this hurts. I do not want this." She paused as the contraction climaxed. She squeezed. Released. Resting against the pillow, her words sprouted from her very roots. "I want my mother."

He brushed a strand of hair behind her ear. "I know, sweetie," he said. "I know." He thought of his mother-in-law, erect at her potting wheel, her hands splattered with clay. Before.

Then he thought of his mother. She wouldn't have let this happen. "Like HELL my grandchild will be born AT HOME," she would have decreed. And by sheer will, she would have whisked Lydia and Walter to the hospital, braving the storm in her Saab. She probably would have stopped for espresso on the way.

He smiled, and passed a glass of water to his wife. He whispered, "You know what?" She met his gaze. "Our daughter is going to have your mother's smile. Just you wait."

The tears streaked down her face. A contraction hit, and all was sensation for a moment. She recovered, exhaling, never letting go of his hand. "I just wish she could know her."

"I do too," he said. He kissed her hand, rested it against his cheek. "I do too." He yearned to fill her emptiness for awhile. To crawl into her body and let her rest.

Instead, he held her as the storm raged against their little house. Hours passed.

With a final release, Zoe Anna Merchant entered the world.

She was the best of their mothers, wearing a new face.

For this week's Red Dress Club challenge, we were to revisit and revise an earlier piece. I took this story from my Walter and Lydia series, and turned it on its head. The original was not something that I loved. But this? Perhaps I can work with this. Concrit is appreciated.

For background, here's the rest of Walter and Lydia's story: Like a Songbird, A Fresh Face, and The Candle of Memory.

21 comments:

nacherluver said...

Wow! That was great!!!!

So strange. I woke this morning while having a dream that I had just given birth to an unexpected baby. Then I hop on the computer and read your story about birthing!

Your words paint a perfect picture of the relationship between the two and a glimpse of their relationships with the two mothers. A short little blurb with so much to share. Very enjoyable and made me want to read more.

Think that's what I'll go do now. Off to read your links!

CDG said...

I'm deliberately not going to revisit the original because this is such a lovely little vignette. Walter becomes something amazing here, especially in this line: To crawl into her body and let her rest.

That's how I feel about wanting to offer comfort, like I wish I could crawl into someone's body and shoulder the burden.

You sure know how to lead by example... off to do what I can...

Elaine A. said...

I had chills the entire time I as reading this. You said and told so much in this short piece that I'm pretty much amazed at how you did it.

Very, VERY good.

From Tracie said...

This is so good!

I remember very well the original, and I liked it too.

Now I have the difficulty of deciding which one I liked better....but I can't decide. They are both lovely!

Great job!

Galit Breen said...

This post Nancy? is one of the best of yours that I've read. Ever. And there's been many to love.

Lines like this - "Cocooning them inside with soft flakes" "all was sensation for a moment" and "To crawl into her body and let her rest" are lyrical and perfect.

Love this lady!

lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog said...

I crack on my wife about how she and our 6 year old daughter, are all over each all the time. It's like they're the same person.

The truth is, I wish all of our kids were like that with both of us.

This reminded me how connected, physically, your kids are to you, when they're little.

thanks

Jackie said...

Good job! I went back and read the original and I like them both.

One question though. The third paragraph has 'Before' as the final word. I don't understand why it's there and almost feel like something is missing from it.

BalancingMama (Julie) said...

I'm new-ish to TRDC, so I'm really enjoying seeing ther original posts and how they changed today. I like this version a lot. Great job!

Jennifer said...

I thought this revision was awesome! I love how you balanced out their relationship, previously I had always felt that Walter was so submissive in the relationship.

I loved that in this version the piece became about the baby, what she represents, what she is.

Nicely done!

Amber Page Writes said...

Beautiful imagery. It makes me want to know what happens next.

Andrea (ace1028) said...

This is wonderful. This line, OMG: "She was the best of their mothers, wearing a new face." Brought me some tears. I felt like I remembered the first story, so I went to read it again, and I am glad he was now holding her hand. Touching her. Soothing her as best he could. But you kept the strengths of the first piece and revamped just enough to give us more of their story and their relationships ... with one another and their mothers. Well done. Love it. Glad we got to see your edits!

Kir said...

you know what Nancy I am beginning to understand the limit of 400 words and how it forces "us" to just write what's important, to stop waxing poetic and get to the meat.

this was wonderful, it was romantic and scary, it was poignant, (Where she asks for her mother, as I remember begging that my mom be in the OR with us as the boys were born) it was heartfelt

the last two lines, SLAYED me, Tears filled my eyes with the last contraction, that release, released your readers too...to the new life of that baby girl.

WOW.

Mad Woman behind the Blog said...

I really loved this. I'm now in love with Walter!
The visual of the mother in law is wonderful and then that one word, "Before." That really says so much, doesn't it?

Carrie said...

I love Walter in this piece. He seems so much stronger than he has in the past, so caring and tender.

This was beautifully done. Just enough emotion to reconize the pain Lydia is going through but not too graphic.

Katie @ Chicken Noodle Gravy said...

Wow! I adored that last line...it really was very powerful! A lovely piece...very well written.

Visiting from TRDC.

angela said...

Perfect. I think the shorter version forced you to shed everything but the visceral feelings and emotions involved in labor.

I also loved the contrast of their mothers and then the end, where they are forever combined into something new and precious.

Lovely.

julie moore said...

I love that she wanted her mother during her time of pain. I have felt that many times since my mom's death.

This is one of the best piece's I've read today. It portrayed hurt but then revealed gave us wonderful hope to grab onto.

Thanks for the great concrit.

Not Just Another Mother Blogger! said...

Beautiful! I got very choked up.

amybethinverness.com said...

Wonderfully condensed down to 400 (or less even?) words. I especially like "...all was sensation for a moment"

Valerie said...

As I read this I kept thinking "That's such a great line!" or "That line is my favorite so far!" until I realized that I loved every single word here.

This has to be one of the most beautiful TRDC posts I've ever read, and your last line-about Zoe's face-was pure perfection!

tsonodablog said...

Touching and poignant. Just Loved it! Thanks for sharing, sweet Nancy!