All That Could Be

A sweet little picture of perfection, a mother’s head bent over her child’s. Her hair brushes a cheek, soft and plump, a promise of all that could be.  She trails her fingertip down the bridge of a tiny nose, over rosebud lips. With a gentle swirl, she skims across the pillowy mound that will rise into a happy first smile, offering a hint of the giggle that might follow. Soon those roly-poly cheeks will be full of wonder, and heavy with innocence. The world-ending wail of perceived slights will cast teary shadows, only to be driven away by the dimpled grin of a munchkin.

She watches as little feet run towards her, a scratched face wet with distress. For a Band-Aid and a song, her payment is a kiss. Chubby arms are thrown tightly round her neck, and she feels the velvety press of small lips to her own uplifted cheek.

The first illness strikes fear into her heart. In sickness, there is a quiet pallor that lingers on the sweat-streaked skin, and the bouncing spirit subdues. A damp curl clings to the flesh that is rarely so still. But rest and healing return what is stolen, and the happy countenance returns.

A hand rises, cupping the mouth. Secrets of the universe whispered into the ear of another small wonder, and their elfin cheeks lift together in happy elation. Tiny bodies quivering with energy like little springs of life. She shares a knowing smile with another.

The rose of youth radiates in the fresh face before her. The furrowed brow and crinkled lips scrunched in determination over the task at hand. Pride fills her heart, and she longs to take that young face into her hands and shower those stubborn cheeks with kisses.

She sees the first inkling of interest, a rush of unknown emotion. The crush brings a dusting of pink embarrassment. The blush of first, second, and true loves, the red of heartbreak, and betrayed anger. Cheek to cheek they dance; lost to all but themselves. A moment for her, the promise of a child gained, not lost.

Another babe held, and another cheek caressed. Born of, but not within her.  She watches them grow, mother and child, one becoming the other. She no longer needs a mirror to see the wrinkles, as their bloom reflects on the once silky apples that smiled up at her. She sees them all gather around, mother, and child, mother, and child. As she closes her eyes, a finger brushes her cheek, and she feels the final kiss of her own.

When she awakes, she looks down into her arms, at the small bundle of all her hopes and dreams. But the toothy grins and the delighted giggles must wait. The wonders of the universe are yet to be discovered, and the magical healing of a song and a kiss will disappear while the rosy blush of love fades into the darkness of almost.

A sweet little picture of perfection, a mother’s head bent over her child’s. As she touches the tiny cheek one last time, a tear rolls down her own.

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© 2015 Taryn King  All Rights Reserved.