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Sad Drama Contemporary

This story contains sensitive content

Trigger Warning: Miscarriage and Infant Loss


Violet, oh Violet. How can you miss someone you’ve never met? But then, how can you not? I miss you every day. The sun warms my skin as I sit here among the trees, trying to follow your father’s orders, to soak in some much-needed vitamin D. But pleasure eludes me now, slipping through my fingers like grains of sand. 

Before, I would have been content sitting here amongst the trees, the pages of my book rustling in the gentle breeze, while the birds orchestrate their melodic symphonies in the background. Perhaps I would have moaned half-heartedly at the distant drone of the neighbour’s lawn mower. I’ve always loved the smell of freshly cut grass – it used to promise a world of possibilities, just around the corner. But even that once auspicious scent has lost its allure. There’s a void in the promise it once held – it faded when you did, with those four words. 

And I would have smiled, hearing the laughing children playing in the street; now, I loathe them. Whenever their voices reach my ears, I find myself yearning to escape, to distance myself from the happiness I can never share with you.

Amidst the lingering fragrance of the cut grass, another scent wafts through the air – an elusive hint of lavender. As the fragrance drifts to me, it tugs at something deep within, a gateway to my past. In that subtle aroma, I’m instantly transported back...

***

Back to my childhood home, where I’m standing next to my mother’s bed, clutching the handmade Mother’s Day card I’d poured my heart into, adorned with lavender flowers from our garden. Hours of painstaking work, all for this moment. I hand it to her with eager anticipation. 

“Mommy, look!” I urge. 

“Not now, Yolanda, I’m busy.” She takes a long sip from her coffee, not looking up from the newspaper. 

“But mommy, I made this card especially for you. Look at the l-”

“Yes, I saw, it’s nice. Thank you,” she says brusquely, not sparing a proper glance. 

My heart sank. My mom had never been the nurturing type. I’m sure she loves me, in her own way, but she has never been good at showing it. She used to buy our clothes at least three sizes too big so that she wouldn’t need to replace them soon. Some still don’t fit me. 

I was determined to be a better mother for you. To always take care of you and have your best interests at heart. To give you everything that my mother didn’t, couldn’t. 

I sat on the bed, watching her. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee filled the room, mixing with the delicate lavender fragrance from the card. It was a peculiar combination, one that would always remind me of my mother’s indifference. There’s little that beats the smell of coffee in the morning. That smell now transports me…

***

It takes me back, or rather forward in time, to when Chris and I first started dating. I find myself in our old apartment, nestled under the covers, my senses slowly awakening to the start of a new day. The faint gurgling of the coffee machine becomes a gentle wake-up call, a siren that pulls me from the depths of slumber. 

I lie there, eyes half-closed, savouring the intoxicating aroma that starts permeating the room. The scent of coffee hangs heavy in the air, almost palpable, wrapping around me like a comforting blanket. 

Chris, always the early riser, moves with a quiet grace as he prepares our morning elixir. The aroma crescendos, filling the room with its inviting allure. I can feel the heat radiating from the mugs he sets beside me. 

“Good morning, sleepyhead,” he says with a smile and kisses me tenderly, as if following a script from a corny rom-com. 

He used to be so wonderfully romantic back then. One memory in particular stands out – our first-year anniversary. Chris surprised me with a picnic on the beach. When he opened the basket, I was greeted by a feast for the senses. 

There he had a tapestry of delights: biltong, salami, olives, and grapes that sparkled like jewels in the sun. But it was the cheese, oh, the cheese! Three varieties with their own unique texture, smell and taste, each a testament to the depths of his thoughtfulness. 

First, a lovely creamy Brie, with a velvety texture and an earthy aroma hinting at its richness. When I bit into it, it practically melted in my mouth, delivering a luxurious embrace of flavours. Next, a marbled Blue cheese, its pungent scent boldly announcing its arrival. It offered a tangy, spicy complexity that tantalised the palate. And lastly, a stunning Gruyère, Swiss and timeless, captivated me with its nutty sweetness and firm consistency. As I touched it, the cool, smooth surface promised a delightful journey for my taste buds.

The sunset that evening was pure magic, a canvas painted by the gods themselves. The sky transformed into a masterpiece of oranges, pinks, and purples, casting a warm glow over us. It was as if the universe had conspired to frame this moment as a testament to our love.

Have I mentioned the cheese? If I close my eyes, I can still taste it. I do, and I am transported further…

***

I’m transported to that precious time when I carried you in my womb. It was as though I cradled a delicate bud, a tiny life awakening day by day, a symphony of secrets exchanged through the language of subtle movements – our private connection.

During those enchanting months, I was compelled to put my love for cheese, and other tiny pleasures, aside, as the mere smell of it sent my stomach into somersaults. Those sacrifices were so minor, if I think about it now. 

Our journey to you had been a winding path filled with years of hope and heartache. I had been pregnant before, but complications had stolen our dreams each time. But this time was different. This time, we stood at the threshold of the final trimester, and the doctor’s reassuring words still echo in my ears – you were a healthy baby girl, on the cusp of gracing the world with your presence. 

And so, fuelled by renewed optimism and unwavering determination, we embarked on a journey to prepare for your arrival. Your father, with his skilled hands, crafted the most exquisite crib from wood he had chopped himself. We went to the paint shop to choose the ideal hue for your room, and settled on a soft, soothing shade of light yellow. 

I can still feel the paintbrush in my hand, the bristles gliding smoothly across the walls as we infused the room with the essence of our love. The aroma of recently painted walls filled the air, making me dizzy and light-headed with excitement. It was as though the very room was infused with the warmth of our anticipation, a sanctuary for you, our most cherished dream.

I can still sense the heady scent of that paint, a fragrant reminder of the love and hope that filled our hearts, and it carries me further…

***

It takes me to the place I don’t want to go – our darkest day. Chris guides me into the cold, sterile building, and as the doors open, we are hit forcefully with the acrid smell of paint – they are doing some renovations in the lobby. Chris’s excitement is palpable; the day of your arrival is finally here. But I am wary, apprehensive. I can feel it; something is wrong – you are too quiet. 

They escort us into a room to wait for the doctor. The fluorescent lights above hum ominously, casting a harsh glow on the grey walls. The nurse comes in, asks me questions, takes my pulse, and then yours. “I’m so sorry, but,” he begins, and then says those four words that still echo in my ears and will haunt me until the end. 

“There is no heartbeat.”

He tries to reassure us, saying that this happens sometimes, and probably everything is fine. Probably? Fine?  I know it’s not. And I can see the panic etched on Chris’s face, though he’s trying to be brave and remain positive. The doctor arrives at long last, a solemn figure in white, and she repeats the agonising verdict. 

No heartbeat. 

We have lost you before we could have you. 

Then, instead of going home to grieve, we have to stay because they still have to remove you, of course. What was meant to be a magical moment has turned into a surgical formality. I don’t remember much about it, as I was heavily sedated. The sterile smell of antiseptic, the harsh glare of operating room lights, the muffled whispers of the medical team – these are the disjointed memories that linger in the recesses of my mind. 

When it’s all over, they ask us, would we like to see you, hold you, take a picture. I say no, paralysed by a fear that was consuming me. I don’t want my last memory of you to be one of lifelessness, and I’m afraid of how you will look. But Chris wants to see and hold you, so he does. 

But then, as I’m lying in the hospital bed, consumed by grief, I keep thinking that I would always regret not seeing you at least once, holding you in my arms, touching your small hands and feet. So later that night, with the world bathed in the cold, unforgiving light of the moon, I ask the nurse to take me to you. 

The air in the dimly lit room feels heavy with sorrow, and the silence is almost suffocating. My heart races as the nurse carefully leads me to you, and I can hear the soft, melancholic hum of the hospital equipment in the background. 

And there you are, lying in a small crib, bathed in the pale, eerie glow of the moonlight filtering through the window. Your tiny form is so fragile, so delicate, and my trembling hands reach out to touch your perfect, lifeless face. The room is filled with the stillness of the night, broken only by the sound of my choked sobs.

You are perfect. Absolutely perfect. But your tiny body,  once meant to be a symbol of new life and hope, is now a heart-breaking shade of blue that echoes the sorrow in my heart. My tears fall softly, mingling with the silent, mournful screams of the night.

The next morning, I wake up in the dim light of the hospital room, the smell of lavender-scented floor cleaner wafting through the air. It jerks me back, suddenly…

***

Back to our garden, where I’m crying. Violet, oh Violet. I miss you so much. It’s been six months, but it still feels like yesterday. The pain is a relentless companion, always there, lurking beneath the surface. Chris has turned to religion to cope. He goes to church regularly and prays all the time. His faith is unshaken, and he’s convinced that he will see you again. He tells me that you’re in a better place, safe and happy. 

But I struggle to find solace in this – in fact, it disgusts me. If there was a god, why would he have let you die? What divine plan could possibly justify the emptiness in my heart, a life taken so early? I find it hard to go into your room, still painted that soft, soothing shade of light yellow. Every time I step inside, I’m enveloped by memories of what could have been.

I remember when we found out about you, the joy that lit up our lives like a thousand suns. I remember your first kick, the sleepless nights when we couldn’t wait to meet you. And I remember that day – the darkest day – when the world crumbled around us.

I reach out to the lavender plant in the garden, as if trying to hold onto something tangible, something that connects me to you. Its fragrance fills the air, a bittersweet reminder of our journey together.

My sweet Violet, I hope that somehow, somewhere, you can hear me. I don’t know what comes after this life, but one thing is certain: your memory, your presence, will forever shape the path I walk. In the still moments, in the rustling of leaves, in the scent of lavender, I find traces of you, and that is my solace. Dear Violet, you are etched into the very fabric of my being and I love you, always. 

October 04, 2023 08:35

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4 comments

AnneMarie Miles
15:38 Oct 04, 2023

Oh, just heartbreaking, Melissa 🩷 a beautifully written tragedy. You really took the prompt and theme this week and weaved it into something masterful, transporting us the way scents truly do. From flowers to cheese to the smell of a sterile hospital and painted walls. There was much to enjoy here but I liked these the most: "The aroma of freshly brewed coffee filled the room, mixing with the delicate lavender fragrance from the card. It was a peculiar combination, one that would always remind me of my mother’s indifference." "The arom...

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18:55 Oct 06, 2023

Thank you so much for reading, AnneMarie, and for leaving a comment. I'm really glad to hear you enjoyed it. And I was also very happy to hear that you think I handled it with care and respect. Since I've never experienced this myself, I was worried that I would not represent it accurately. Thanks again!

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Miley Ashborne
16:40 Oct 11, 2023

Wow. This writing was incredible. I really felt the heartbreak of the narrator. The use of the less common second person really sets this story apart. It adds a unique quality and brings the loss of this child vividly to life. The child becomes immortalized within the text, as the audience reading the story always assumes the role of the child because the mother and narrator addresses us in this 'you' format. This creates an intimate connection between the reader and the child, which helps us connect with the loss portrayed here. Going ev...

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07:55 Oct 12, 2023

Thank you so much for your heartfelt comments, Miley, I really appreciate it. I'm so glad the story resonated with you! Thanks for reading and commenting :)

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