The Crease

mother father babyA baby.

She was small enough to fit in one of my hands, completely bald but still the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. At night, her wails were like torture to me. Siena and I would take it in turns to comfort her, stroke her soft flesh and cradle her against our bosoms. The screaming of our baby was shrill and pierced the air like only the cry of an innocent in pain could. Loud and unrelenting, the shriek continued on as an unwavering note of despair, punctuated only by gasps for breath and wracking sobs. Our baby’s wailings evoked a heat-wrenching empathy within me… and yet the constancy of the sharp, ear-splitting screeches caused my patience- but not my love, never my love- to wear thin.

***

Her small, pudgy hands shook in excitement before she rapidly pressed them together in a series of noiseless claps. Excitement lit up her face as I rolled the ball towards her; her flushed cheeks lifted in an endearing, clumsy smile and her dark eyes brightened with the joy of reaching for the ball. As the scarlet ball touched the tips of her soft, tiny fingers, my beautiful baby let out a cry of pure and undiluted joy. Happiness burst within me and painted the caverns of my veins with blues and oranges, reds and greens, yellows and purples.

***

She babbled tunefully as she took her first step. Siena, camera in hand, captured our baby’s first, most unsure and shaky steps that she took on her own. Pride filled my chest as I watched our daughter put one foot in front of the other, her toes wriggling madly beneath pale violet socks. Pride transformed seamlessly into concern as her unsteady legs gave way beneath her. My daughter collapsed, and as tears welled in her eyes and then promptly flooded her face, she let out a loud wail. I gently gathered her in my arms, stroking the soft, dark golden locks that framed her sweet, innocent face. As I began to sing softly to comfort her, my little angel quieted, staring up at my careworn features with dark and curious eyes set in a smooth face that couldn’t begin to comprehend the harshness of the world.

Holding her in my embrace and singing to her gently, I knew that I wanted to keep her face innocent and creaseless forever.

***

‘Stow-wee!’ Her first intelligible word rang through the house loud and clear, reverberating in echoes. Siena and I froze, our conversation unravelling in its own unimportance.

Story,” I breathed. “Our angel said, story.” My baby’s full, pale pink lips fumbled around the word as she repeated it yet again. And even though I knew my daughter was merely joining together random syllables in a way that sounded like a word to me, I decided to comply and tell my baby a story.

***

Sparrow, CeeCee, Teller, and a whole cast of others- borne from deep within the creative recesses of my child imaginary frienddaughter’s mind- came into existence and became permanent fixtures in our lives. It was Teller who had spilled the apple juice, it was CeeCee’s fault that Mummy’s car keys had gone missing. My little angel spent hours alone in her room, talking to figments of her imagination, playing with people that only she could see and hear. It worried Siena and it thrilled me. Our daughter was a creative, inventive spark of originality and beauty in an otherwise bleak and loveless world. She was a brightly burning candle, and I was a plain, slowly aging moth.

***

The first hour after she boarded the sickeningly yellow bus to kindergarten was the hardest. No peals of warm, infectious laughter filling the otherwise cold and empty house with the joys of childhood. No tales of child as snow whiteflying houses and true love’s kiss lifting the veil of death spilling from her mouth as she sat at the kitchen counter, legs swinging back and forth. No flashes of dark blonde hair whipping around a corner as she ran with all her might from an invisible squad of goblins. No clumsy, off-pitch notes filling the air with her powerful albeit off-key singing.

It was quiet within the house; too quiet… less full of life.

When the school bus that had stolen away my daughter brought her back around midday, she vigorously threw herself into my waiting arms, but without any fantastic tales of new friends made, or of vibrant recess times. My little angel asserted that she never wanted to go back to kindergarten ever, ever again. When I asked her why, my baby began to cry noiselessly. The silence of her sadness was suddenly in sharp contrast with how she used to shriek when she cried, and how only yesterday she couldn’t stop loudly inventing fables to an amused audience of Siena and I.

I looked at my daughter as she spoke, “A boy at school said that the stories you tell me at night aren’t true. The fairies, the magic, the underwater kingdom, the little girl who saved the village… all of it. He said none of it was real.”

My heart skipped a beat, and it was almost as though the weight of a bowling ball had fallen onto each of my shoulders. I bent down and kissed my little girl on the forehead. She was wonderful, my daughter- a peaches and cream complexion, dark gold hair, and curious eyes behind which lay the biggest, most radiant imagination in the world. And here she stood- eyes pink, puffy, and bright with unbidden tears.

I noticed that between her eyebrows, there was a crease. I tried to smooth it away with my thumb, but there it was, and there it would stay.

My baby had a crease on her face.

“Of course it’s real, angel!” I exclaimed, injecting false confidence and cheer into my voice.

“It’s all real?” my daughter breathed, her dark eyes finding mine, suddenly filled with renewed hope. “Do you promise?”

“Of course it’s real, angel,” I repeated, forcing a smile to light up my limp features, “I promise.”

 

 

Photo Citations:

MacDonald, E. (n.d.). Mother, Father And Baby Ideas. Retrieved October 11, 2015, from https://www.pinterest.com/emilyjaynemacdo/mother-father-and-baby-ideas/

Shain, M. (2015, May 26). Who’s Your Imaginary Friend? – Your Project Office | Healthcare Project Management | ACO. Retrieved October 11, 2015, from http://yourprojectoffice.com/2015/05/26/whos-your-imaginary-friend/

Twenty six on friday -storybook / favorite childhood book edition. (n.d.). Retrieved October 11, 2015, from http://www.theredballoonphotography.com/blog/twenty-six-on-friday-storybook-favorite-childhood-book-edition/

 

 

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6 thoughts on “The Crease

  1. Dear Ziyana,
    WOOOOOWWW!
    You’re such a beautiful writer!
    Your tone of voice kept me thoroughly engaged and left me wanting more!
    The title, in correlation with one of the last lines—”My baby had a crease on her face.”—left me whispering”wow”. Your completely vivid and accurate descriptions of the setting and characters left me visualizing the story in my head. My thought processes got me thinking and I am truly inspired by the way you chose to respond to childhood innocence.
    The way you shifted time so smoothly—it was beautiful. I myself struggle at times with time shifts in creative writing. I tend to speed up/rush the story when I cannot think of a way to elaborate further. The way you did it was so lovely. It is almost as if you are a machine that can never stop producing things to say. I admire that.
    I LOVE creative writing and your talent and potential as a writer amazes me. I remember once on Edmodo Sadia and I were stalking our classmates and snooping at everyone’s career goals. When I saw that yours was a writer I wasn’t even surprised. I encourage you to pursue your dream! You have EVERY right to be one!
    What caught me off guard was the POV. When the parent was talking about their child I immediately assumed it was the voice of the mother; that the father’s name was Siena. But as I read I remembered that Siena is a feminine name, and I realized that you were speaking from the POV of the husband. (Please correct me if I am wrong!) I thought it was a very clever way of illustrating your story and that gave me a little bit of inspiration to try and write from diverse amounts POV’s in my own creative writing.
    Thank you so much Ziyana, that was a wonderful read. Personally, I learned a lot and I am looking forward to viewing your future works 🙂
    Have a lovely weekend!

    With love,
    Timi ♥

    1. Dear Timi-

      Awwww!! Thanks so much!! I have this warm feeling inside from reading your comment, because everything you said just made me feel so loved…!
      I’m glad to know that the ways I shifted time worked- but I found that with your Free Choice Blog, you used the same technique to great effect. Just as it worked well here, it works quite well with you. 🙂
      As for the point of view, I’m glad to know you picked up on that! I did not include this in the piece as I didn’t want to go off on a controversial tangent, but both the narrator and Siena are female. They are a lesbian couple having adopted a newborn baby. I actually wrote parts of this twice- one of them being from the perspective of a husband, and one being the perspective of one of two mothers. I connected more strongly with the latter, and so that was the one I decided to post.
      Thanks again for your comment!!! <3
      Infinite Love and Gratitude,
      Ziyana

  2. Hey Z.

    There is really no word in the English language to describe this at all. It was so amazing!

    To think one could write a peace so beautiful and peaceful as this is especially amazing considering that we’re mostly studied texts involving the suffering of men, women and children. Simply amazing. Your voice, As Timia had pointed out earlier, is absolutely beautiful. you’re an amazing writer with exceptional capabilities.

    What is truly beautiful about your post is that you’ve captured the joys of seeing and experiencing the early years of parenthood in a mater of a few words! You’ve made the simplest joys in the world turn into something beautiful. Personally I never was the type to see this joy, I usually fail to understand the easiest things, but your post I would say was educational in a sense, It reminded me again that the most beautiful things in life come in the simplest of packages.

    Your style! Z if you continue to write like this there is no doubt at all that you’ll embrace greatness! your use of ethos and pathos is exceptional. You’ve told a story, simultaneously told a message and given me the reader’s joy.

    Only criticism I would have is just a few kinks here and there on wording like for example when you said, “less full of life” I just think in my own opinion “less lively” would’ve been a smoother way to go about it, but hey your post is nonetheless absolutely amazing.

    I’m really looking foreword to your future pieces,

    1. Hi Nilave-

      Thanks for your comment! It’s honestly made my day to read the comments on this post and to absorb the wonderful things you’ve all said.
      You spoke to how I captured the small joys of parenthood and childhood- which, to me, has a certain irony. I don’t like children. They are sticky, snotty, clingy… no thanks! But somehow, writing from the narrator’s perspective, I couldn’t help but fall in love with my own baby girl. Of course, she is fictional, but I think that if I ever did have kids, my feelings towards my own children would be of love and unconditional acceptance.
      Thanks for your suggestion, too! Writing this piece, I was attempting to make the flow smooth and unmarred by the scratches of time to represent the innocence of childhood. It’s good to know where that worked and where it did not.
      Thank you again for reading my piece, and for taking the time to write and post such beautiful comment!

  3. Dear Ziyana,

    Let me begin by saying that if you ever wrote a novel, I would be the first to buy it. I don’t know what it is with your writing, but it seems to hypnotize me. I love getting lost in your words, and beg for more whenever your story ends. It was a pleasure to read, as always. I must say that it was beautiful. The word beautiful is very redundant in my comments, however, I can think of no better word to describe your work.

    I suppose that if I were to narrow it down, I admired your style the most. I loved how you layered the time intervals as the child grew older, as it is often difficult to do that and maintain the readers interest. Your diction blew me away, as usual. Likewise, the amazing thing about your work is that every word has a purpose. If one were to substitute a single word in your writing for another, the reader would immediately recognize that it doesn’t fit. Your voice plays a huge role in this aspect of your writing. You write about the simplest of concepts, yet your intelligence shines through your diction and style. Your voice is a gentle one. It is like a lullaby that a mother sings to her child before bed. In this piece specifically, the tone clearly had a melancholy tint to it, which enhanced its effect in terms of ethos.

    In addition (I feel as though there is always going to be more to say), I was amazed at the symbolism you utilized behind the “crease,” as it reflects the adversity within the world around us, and how this adversity shapes our identity (clear relation to the prompt we did in class-nice touch).

    Improvement wise, I have nothing to say. However, I was wondering if your voice is as apparent in poetry as it is in your creatives. Have you ever tried writing poetry, or do you prefer personals?

    Your fan,
    Sania

    1. Dear Sania,

      Thanks for the comment!
      I am touched having read your comment. I am filled with such happiness… thank you, truly.
      I’m glad to know that the symbolism of the crease had affect on those reading it. Writing it, my eyes were glazed with a film of unbidden tears because it truly moved me to see the loss of childhood smoothed over by a simple lie. When I am a mother, I am sure that it will hurt all the more to see my children enter reality, where things become harsh and permanent.
      I do write poetry, but after joining AP English, I have become more comfortable writing creatives and personals than before. Because it’s newer to me, I want to expand on and continue writing creatives and personals before I shift back to including poetry.
      Thanks for your comment and your interest, I really appreciate it!

      Infinite Love and Gratitude,
      Ziyana

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