In sixth grade, I strode into your bedroom to find you situated on your bed with your Stephen King book in hand. Eyes almost closed, but not quite.



Scruffy flannel pajamas snuggled your body. Antique quilts swaddled the bed. Your glasses had slipped to the bottom of your nose, like always, and you hadn’t yet shoved them back up.



Soft white light whispered to the shadows in your corner of the room. I didn’t say anything. Didn’t have to. But I needed to be close to you. At your side. A daughter needs her mother.

So I slid into your bed. Opened my R.L. Stine book. Exhaled.

It would have been different had we known what was to come; cancer.



At that moment, we would’ve had conversations about life. About close family I never had the chance to meet. About what you were like as a child.

You’d show your candor, your true colors. But that knowledge, that experience, would’ve come at a cost.

No quiet.

No calm.

No comfort.

But we didn’t know. Not yet. Instead, only our steady sighs and the shooshing of turning pages swept against our ears. Everything else turned silent because it was our space, our time.



Had we known, we would have gained something. But we would have lost so much, only to watch the clock.

Photo by Umberto Del Piano on Unsplash

13 thoughts on “Comfort

  1. I love how this captures a moment in time. Like somebody in a more chaotic future, opening a time capsule from the past. Maybe we really are better off not knowing what’s coming, just living in the here and now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve created a vivid, heartfelt image. I liked how you broke it up into sections. Were the word choices specific? I kind of thought the C words were there because of the mention of cancer while the S words related to sixth grade, Stephen King and scruffy. Only thing, I’m wondering if the last part of the last line should be different. Watching the clock doesn’t fit here somehow? Maybe losing the peace of that perfect moment together? Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely essay. I was going to say how much I like the last line. After reading Jolan’s suggestion, I think I agree about the ‘peace of the perfect moment together’ rather than watching the clock.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This piece exemplifies what you do so well: show the moment of grace that appears in the midst of life. The words you used as pauses were perfect ways to slow it down and cue reflection. I’m reaching here, but I kind of wanted an earlier hint that it was your mom in bed. But that’s really minor. It’s a lovely piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Michelle. I think after more than six years I’m finally getting to a place where I sometimes don’t wish I would have known sooner, wish I would have asked more questions. Instead, I’m happy I had those little moments with her. Of course I still have moments where it’s the opposite and I would give just about anything for another conversation with her, but not as many…

      Liked by 1 person

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