In the darkness he would silently walk into the room, touch her arm and say
I can’t fall asleep, Ma. I’m scared…I hear noises near my window.
And she would always reply with a hug and a kiss. With his tiny hand holding on to her fingers and his face resting calmly on her, he would fall sound asleep in her arms in no time.
This had become a routine for a while now. She didn’t mind…as a matter of fact, she looked forward to that time of the night when he came over to her room. She loved the harmony these few moments brought to her heart and soul – hugging someone that’s a part of her, knowing that the sight of her makes all his fears vanish, seeing her beautiful child fall asleep feeling secure in her arms brought more peace to her than anything else.
But she also knew that he was ready to sleep alone without getting scared. After all, she wasn’t going to be around every night to put him to sleep once she starts to working nights.
Sweetheart, you shouldn’t really come looking for Mommy every night. You are a big boy now.
But I hear noises near my window and I get scared.
There’s nothing to be scared of…it’s just the rustling of leaves or the brushing of the rain drops against the window or the noisy winds. They won’t do you any harm, believe me. You can even take a look out the window and see that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Let’s do it tonight before we go to bed and I’m sure you will be fine then, ok?
She had said.
He had agreed, half heartedly…there was no other choice, really.
As promised, she opened the window that evening to show him that there was nothing to be scared of. She assured there was nothing out of the ordinary outside, kissed him good night and walked to her room.
All night she twisted and turned on her bed waiting for the door to open any minute to see him walk in. Restlessness crept in with every passing second without his sight. As much as she wanted him to sleep by his own, as much as she was proud that her little boy overcame his fears, she couldn’t help but feel sad that his tiny feet didn’t come running to her.
As soon as the first ray of the sun fell on her window brightening the room, she walked to his room…to find it empty. Empty of the smell of her baby, empty of the sound of his breathing, empty of those eyes of promise, empty…empty of his presence. The disturbed scene of his room was enough to put her into shock…the open window, the messy bed, the lonely toys…something bad happened, she knew right away. Searching all over the house and the neighborhood only confirmed what the mother in her already felt.
Her baby was gone.
Did he leave on his own? Did someone take him? Was he hurt? Was he crying to be with her? Why did he go? When will he come back?…these are just a few of the million that’s been eating her alive every morning ever since. She didn’t know the answers to any of these…but one thing she knew for sure was that it was her fault. He fault that she asked him to sleep alone, her fault that she opened the window the previous evening, her fault that she didn’t stop by his room every once in a while that night to check on him, her fault that he was not with her now. Guilt is not a good friend…it consumes one alive. And when it is about your own flesh and blood, then there’s no limit to the hurt it brings along.
One night changed it all…her life turned upside down, her heart crushed to pieces, her tears don’t want to quit, and her mind doesn’t want to rest. How she wishes all of this was nothing but a nightmare, how she hopes her child would come running into her arms right this second, how she wants to feel secure in his hug, how she longs to see his beautiful face in the light of the moon…only if!
Now all she is left with are insomnia and hope…one to keep her company and the other to give her the strength to survive.