The whimpers of a new born baby’s cry echoed throughout the hospital room. A tall handsome young man stood in the middle of the room and smiled down at his new son through his long blond wisps of hair; it was a sad, heart wrenching smile that knew time was short.
His wife, the baby’s mother, lay peacefully on the bed beside him as though she were merely sleeping. The tears still trailed down his tanned cheeks as he held her cold lifeless hand in his own; the baby held in the nook of his other arm. Gently he crouched to the bed level and lifted the baby up to view the beautiful fiery haired woman laid before him.
“Say hello to your Mother...” The baby stopped whimpering and opened his brilliant blue eyes, curious about the sudden movement and the deep voice that spoke. “She wants you to know that she loves you very much.” He turned the new baby back to his own handsome face, and the boy gave a happy gurgle before reaching out to the shiny headband reflecting the candle lights from around the room.
“And I’m your Father.” The baby’s hands slipped onto his left eye, his nose, his mouth; those tiny hands exploring his face with a happy enthusiasm. He gave a quick blow of raspberries onto the small fingers which delighted the boy further; the young man smiled and continued; “I will always be with you; in your heart, mind and soul...” The baby gurgled again now attempting to grip the young mans shirt zipper. “I only wish I could have more time with you; to watch you grow, help you learn, teach you all that I have learned…” fresh tears fell from his eyes and he pulled the new born into a grieving hug, breathing in the scent of new born blond hair. The child was so small, so soft and fragile…
The young man closed his cobalt eyes at the new haggard voice in the doorway; time was up. He wished feverishly for more time with his new son, to hear him gurgle a few more times; to give the boy something to remember him by… but the old man was right; he had to go. He opened his eyes again and was greeted by a wide yawn from the boy in his arms. Another sad smile graced his face; maybe a few more minutes wouldn’t hurt?
“One moment, he’s just going off to sleep.” The old man in the doorway nodded in understanding and waited silently, watching what was possibly the first and final moments of a Father and his new born son.
The young man rocked the sleepy child in his arms gently, humming a low and soft tune that his wife used to sing when she was in a particularly chipper mood. If he remembered correctly, it was the same tune that played in her music box; the one on the bedside table next to him. Gaining an idea, he gently laid the drowsy baby down in the small cot and watched for a moment as the boy’s eyes tried to stay open. It took a great deal of effort to tear himself away from the cot but he had one last thing to do before saying goodbye forever.
He moved back to the hospital bed, fighting the tears of grief at her unmoving figure, and reached around her pale cold neck. The chain was thin and dainty and came away with ease revealing the only pendant upon it; a small silver filigree key. He picked up the music box and tried the key in the lock, turning it gently until a small click reached his ears.
Bracing himself against his own emotions, he opened the music box and quickly scanned the contents of the box. There was only one thing inside; the ring he’d given her when they were mere teenagers. He’d saved up a lot for that ring and it almost left him broke after he’d bought it for her, but after a long conversation and a few secrets revealed, the seller had taken pity on him and given him a good deal for it. He smiled at the memory of that day but pushed it aside quickly; time was short.
He took out a small notebook from one of his many pockets and laid it gently next to the ring; it wasn’t much because he hadn’t prepared for the worst, but the memories were there… it’d do. He closed the small box and locked it again before turning the small winder and returning to the cot. He placed it by the child’s head just as the tinkling melody began its gentle song. The tune sounded even more magical when played by the chimes and another tear traveled a well worn path down his cheek. The baby’s eyes closed.
“keep him safe, old friend. It’s my only wish.” He said. The old man nodded; it was the least he could do. The young man stood and fought his instinct to stay by the baby’s side; he crossed the room with great difficulty and stopped in the doorway, shoulder to shoulder with the old man, facing away from the room.
“Are you sure you want to do this? Surely there is another way?” The old man asked. The young man sadly shook his head, wishing with every fiber of his being that the old man’s words were true.
“If there was another way, I’d gladly go along with it. But right now my options are limited and I must make the best out of a bad situation.” He paused thinking long hard thoughts, reminiscing on his life and all that he’d achieved; his work, his friends, his wife, his… he turned and took one last look at the sleeping child on the cot, “Take care of him; he deserves a happy life.” The old man nodded.
“I want you to know, that I feel as though I’m saying goodbye to a son. It has been a true honor to have lived alongside you. Rest assured; I will take good care of him.” The old man said, his old voice quivering. The young man smiled.
“I love you too old man.” He replied softly before falling silent. Both were still for a moment; a brief pause, an acknowledgement of love, both lost in past memories…
And then suddenly he was gone.
- Title: Of New Beginnings...
- Artist: Elemental-Zer0
- Description: A Short story of a soldier going to war and leaving his new born son behind...
- Date: 12/21/2008
- Tags: beginnings