by Douglas Hockenberger
12-year-old single malt
“Don’t forget my playlist.” The last thing she said. The last thing I remembered her saying.
Nine months. ‘Ten months actually,’ I was reminded. She carried our something. Our something better. Through the thankless administrative job on the umpteenth floor. Along the bitter and littered streets of the lower east side. Amidst the sad blank faces scattered about the subway car. She carried our something until she couldn’t anymore.
I see now. What it’s like. I wish I didn’t. But I do. There you are, unfettered, ubiquitous. Nurses quickly, quietly taking you. Unsure of their exact intentions, but I release upon their experience. You are as beautiful as you were on that summer afternoon in the park when the sun lit your face, and the breeze lifted your auburn hair as if it were curious to what lay beneath. You stole my heart and still have it.
Now, with our something, a fraction of us together, but now our together is just me. Just me and our something.
Just as the breeze glanced upon your brow, the realization of your never-ending beauty shines through the blue eyes staring back at me.
One life for another. An even exchange? I wish I could determine, but at this moment, it is undetermined. My love for you has compounded inexplicably to our something. Our child. Your child. My child. I will love her just as I have loved you. Maybe greater. Maybe.