No Son of Mine
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“Isn’t he nice! Just look at those tiny hands and feet! Oh, hello, sweet little thing.” Melissa watched her aunt Jane acting crazy over her new-born son with a mixture of weariness and pride. The child moved its tiny limbs and caused another explosion of nonsensical talk from her aunt. “Oh look, now he opens his eyes! Hello, you have…” Her aunt stopped in mid sentence; her wide friendly grin freezing on her face. She glanced quickly over at Melissa and said carefully. “Such dark eyes, Melissa. You must be eh… very proud.”
Melissa smiled defensively but said nothing. Her sombre mood was intensified by the latest of strange reactions she had to endure. Joshua, her husband, stepped into the silence she had created, offering aunt Jane coffee and cakes. His reserved attitude only heightened the suspicion that clearly showed on her aunt’s face. That’s not your son, Joshua.
The silent accusation of her aunt rang out in Melissa’s mind, echoing through the dark corners of her mind until it filled all of her thoughts. But it had to be! It cannot be anyone else’s son! I know… Her defences rang shrill in the loud echoes of the accusations and even she, confronted with the full force of her aunt’s frown and her husband’s coldness, began to doubt.
She was torn from her sombre thoughts by the sound of her son’s crying. Mechanically she picked up the child and began to unfasten her blouse to feed it. The black, staring eyes of her son seemed to mock her as he found the nipple and began to suckle without apparent haste. He did not lower his gaze or closed his eyes but watched his mother with uncanny clarity.
I know I gave birth to you but you seem to be no son of mine. She hated herself for turning against this helpless little creature but ever since the birth, instead of the pink little cloud that should have been there as a proud young mother, there was the dark grey thundercloud that invaded her restless sleep. Torn between the love she was prepared to give and the revulsion she experienced each time she watched those dark eyes, Melissa began to fear each new visitor but hated being alone with her husband even more. She couldn’t really blame him; his own bright blue eyes had stared at her accusingly, even though he was kind enough not to speak them out loud. There was no one in his family with black eyes and there was no one in hers. Frankly, she could not remember ever seeing anyone with such dark eyes as those of her son. She vaguely wondered if it was kindness that kept her husband quiet on the subject that filled her every waking thought.
“Do you want more coffee, Melissa?” With a little jolt she tore away her gaze from her son and looked up at Joshua. Unable to answer him politely, she just shook her head and stared through the window into the garden. The bright sunlight seemed preposterously out of place; the blue sky looked much too innocent. Her son’s hand pressed against her breast, as if he wanted to attract her attention. She fought against focusing on her son for only an instant before giving in and looking into those mesmerising eyes again. He no longer suckled but merely watched her silently, one tiny eyebrow raised in silent amusement.
“Perhaps you’d better put him to sleep in his room, Melissa.” Joshua’s suggestion was clear: get the child out of my sight! Without turning towards him, she slowly got up and walked out of the room with the baby in her arms. Once in the pretty blue baby room, she put the baby in its crib and leaned with her head against the wall, trying to cool the hot stuffy feeling in her head. The baby had not protested against being put to bed but moved its little wriggling arms as if it wanted to test its movement possibilities. Melissa stared at it from the corner of her eyes, unable to draw her attention away but detesting the very sight of the odd little child. No longer able to face it, she sank to the ground with her back against the wall and closed her eyes against the tidal wave of exhaustion and despair that threatened to overwhelm her. Putting her hands to her face she really wanted to cry her pain away but not one desperate tear came out. One of the little pillows she had embroidered so lovingly while she was pregnant lay abandoned on the ground, just within her reach. She picked it up and drew it into her arms like a long lost teddy bear, trying to find comfort.
It took awhile before she became aware of the soft wailing of her son. Gathering the last of her strength, she had to look to the wall for support, otherwise she wouldn’t have managed getting up again. Still hugging the pillow, she glanced at the crib where the little child, now slightly red with frustration, cried insistently for her attention. At the sight of those dark eyes, watching her in angry accusation of being neglected so long, something snapped inside Melissa.
“Shut up!!!” She screamed at the child. The only effect was a slight increase in the vsolume of the wailing. Spitting her rage and frustration, she just repeated the same phrase at the tiny little boy. Walking over to the crib, she became aware of the pillow in her hand and without hesitation raised it towards the child, determined to make it shut up.
Suddenly the wailing stopped. Melissa froze in mid-movement; the pillow just inches away from the child. She fell silent like the child when deep within her, a clear voice told her unconcernedly, I wouldn’t do that if I were you.
About ‘No Son of Mine’
This story was originally written for a contest in 2004, and no, it didn’t win 😉