As Jenny Brocten's eyes cracked open from a disturbed sleep she didn't know why her baby girl wasn't crying. Her husband slept next to her. Ugly yellow plugs jutted out of his ears. His smile was a half crack of enjoyment and arousal. She knew what he was dreaming."You'll just have to suffer " she whispered with a little smile, as her feet kicked off the covers. "I'm in no mood to satisfy your needs, when I'm unable to satisfy my own." What were those needs? I don't believe them to be sexual. I believe them to be something simple: a good night's sleep, for example.
"Hannah," she called in a voice soft enough that it wouldn't scare her daughter. "Are you finally done with your cowlick? I really hope so, 'cause mommy can't take much more."
Hannah wasn't sleeping in her crib, wrapped in that one small, pink blanket. The crib was empty.
"Hannah!" it was now a call of quiet desperation, that Jenny repeated three times in a row. Each time her voice rose a little higher, and her heart beat a little faster. Soon she was tripping through the dark hallway. It was quiet. The kitchen clock down on the first floor was louder than the dripping faucet in the upstairs bathroom.
"Hannah," she called again, this time as a tear slipped down her cheek. "Where are you baby girl?"
The dripping faucet grew louder as she slowly approached the bathroom. The sound of the clock ticking had faded into something indistinct--something not important.
As if she was scared of the dark, she put her hand in the bathroom first, until finding the switch, and flipping it up. Precious, beautiful, inviting light spilled from the ceilings, painted the walls, and dripped onto the white, tile floor.
DRIP! DRIP! the sound was coming from the other side of the bathroom. She was avoiding the mirror directly in front of her, scared of what would reflect. Without turning around, and with her eyes looking at the tile, she began to back up toward the sound of the dripping faucet. DRIP! DRIP!
Step by step, tile by tile, the sound grew louder. She kept her head focused on the floor before her.
"Hannah," she barely whispered, as her feet continued to back her toward the dripping faucet. "I love you,"
With that, the sound of her heels hitting the bathtub appeared with a clunk. Still keeping her eyes on the tile, she grabbed hold of the faucet handle behind her, and pulled it tight. The dripping stopped. As she closed her eyes, Jenny put a finger in the tub, finding it nearly full. She took a deep breath, and began to feel around, still keeping her eyes fixed on the floor in front of her. Her hand slipped through luke-warm water until hitting a small foot.
"No," she turned around, immediately finding Hannah floating on her stomach---dead.
Jenny turned back around, eyes now empty. She looked at the mirror, seeing her reflection, but it wasn't her. The Jenny that she had been before Hannah's birth was now dead. She had been replaced by some other Jenny. Some sad, hollow being who's eyes were small dull blue marbles in tired circles of black.
She looked at the reflection of what she had become in the mirror. It looked back at her, smiled, and said, "you needed to sleep."