The prompt for this week is the photo on the right.
As heartwarming as it is, my dark side refused to take it at face value. Here's the result; your comments and feedback are most genuinely appreciated.
You scare the hell out of me. The innocence of your skin, the curl of your tiny fingers. The abandon with which your back heaves in breath. The texture of your hair—no, I haven’t touched it, and I won’t. But it looks so soft, so—fragile. Everything about you is fragile, and that’s what scares me. Because it demands that I be everything, things I’m not sure I want. Things I’m not sure I can.
How does anyone have children here, in this mad world of chaos and brutality? How can anyone, in full conscious desire, make the decision to bring you—you—here? You’re stronger than you look, probably. Still. The responsibility would crush a better man than me.
And, see, that’s the whole thing. I’m not a better man. I’m not even a good man. I’m still a child myself, in so many ways. I’m selfish and a brute. I pretend I know what I’m doing, but I don’t. Most of the time I’m scared, of everything. Of making mistakes. Of missing out. Of living the wrong life. Of not being enough.
And for you I’d have to be, wouldn’t I? One way or the other, I’d have to be. I’d have to have the right answer, I’d always have to be strong.
I’m not. I’m not strong, not enough for you anyway. I’d want to, protect you, but I’m so afraid I’d do the wrong thing. Drop the ball. Drop you.
I’m not ready.
"Scott? Sweetie, are you up here?"
"Aw. She’s sleeping, isn’t she?" Maddie stood on the side of the crib, looking at the tiny sleeping form inside. "She’s beautiful. Isn’t she beautiful, Scott?"
He nodded, smiled.
"Ours will be even more beautiful," Maddie said, reached over the crib to ruffle Scott’s hair on the other side.
He looked up at her, let his eyes trail down to her pregnant belly. Maddie had never looked more alluring.
"I’m sure she—or he—will be perfect," he said.
They hadn’t wanted to know the sex. Makes it more exciting, Maddie had said, and Scott had smiled then too. He’d been doing a lot of smiling the last seven months.
Maddie headed back to the bedroom door. "They’re serving dessert. Are you coming?"
"Be right there."
Scott heard her make her way downstairs, heard the murmur of conversation, the clinking of flatware and glasses.
The minute fist in the crib jerked, settled again. Scott let himself look another long minute, then turned away. He closed the door behind him softly.
I'm sorry, Maddie. I’m just not ready.
Thanks for your visit, and especially for your comments. I'm now off to read the other wonderful entries!