It will get better, Mum said.
She hugged her tight, stroking her hair, wiping away her tears.
I know it’s hard darling, but it will get better. Believe me. I’ve been through it myself, not so young, but not that much older either, and soon, I promise, it will get better.
I’ll hold her darling, why don’t you make us a cup of tea?
Mum had marvelled over the curly little bundle, helped bathe her, smoothing the curls with a soft brush, showing her how to apply the lotion, how to lift the delicate head when putting on a fresh pair of pyjamas.
But then Mum passed away, leaving her and the baby.
Leaving her to rock and rock and rock her, the constant cries sizzling her brain. Leaving her to make that single cup of tea, hoping it would shake the numbness of grief.
Leaving her to apply lotion and put on fresh pyjamas, and to tell the story of the little piggy that cried all the way home; whilst inside the thick cloudy darkness descended.
But then, one day, things got better, just as Mum said. The high-pitched shrieks finally ebbing away and the little girl finally resting.
She’d enjoy the silence, and quietly slipping into bed next to her, stroking her smoothed curls and pale cheek before falling asleep, her hand wrapped around the small little fist.
She’d run the soft brush slowly on the still head, again and again.
This little piggy went to the market, she’d mechanically repeat, tugging gently at the bluish toes.
Twinkle, twinkle, she’d singsong, her finger tracing around the purple marks on the neck.
And she’d wrap her hand around the cold little fist and go to sleep.
B F Jones lives in Surrey with her husband, three children and cat. She works as a digital marketing consultant and has stories published in Storgy, Train Lit Mag, Bending Genres, Soft Cartel, Spelk and The Cabinet of Heed.