was born in the middle of the night. Cindy slept off the epidural and
showered. They checked out of the hospital and drove the Mazda home in
the pale dawn. Mama stayed at the house to field phone calls and was
awake for the duration. She not only cleaned Coach and Cindy's house
but she took the liberty of rearranging the furniture. When Coach and
Cindy came home, Mama knew she'd overstepped her bounds, and so she
"A woman's quarters are an extension of her," Mama said. "I didn't mean
to intrude. It was my adrenalin. I had to do something."
"I appreciate it," Cindy said. There were times she blamed Coach's Mama
for the way he was and times she gave Mama credit. "Thank you, Mama."
"Can I hold him?"
Cindy handed over the newborn. Mama set Brad on the kitchen table that
she'd moved into the living room. She'd mopped the kitchen floor but
hadn't moved the table back yet. She undid the diaper. "I knew I
couldn't insinuate myself into the delivery room," she said. "But I
must see him as he came into this world." Cindy was used to
Mama's eccentricities. All Cindy wanted was to lie horizontal. The
kitchen table cluttered the living room and Cindy felt slow confusion
before she located the couch.
She lay on it and drifted into sleep, thinking, "How did Mama move this
thing?" The davenport held a hide-away bed and was
surprisingly heavy. Cindy dreamt of playing a card game with McDonald's
hamburgers and cheeseburgers for gambling chips, the cheeseburgers
wrapped in yellow paper and worth more. Mama was there, Coach, and
Cindy's parents. Except Cindy's father was played by the famous actor
Tony Randall. Her father was nothing like him but it made sense in the
dream. For a moment Cindy awoke, feeling disoriented and hungry, she
had no idea how long she'd slept, but Coach and Mama still stood at the
displaced kitchen table staring down at the unswathed miracle. Cindy
felt the weight of consciousness and the dream reeling her back in.
Coach had on his team jacket and Mama held her son's hand deep in his
"He has such sweet small fingers," Mama said.
She reached down and pinched the baby like bread.
John Minichillo has stories in or coming from Mississippi Review, Third Coast, Dogzplot, Gigantic and others.
To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/201005sleep.htm
Detail of drawing on main page courtesy
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