One a.m.

The Things We Have Now

The chirping alarm clock wakes her. Promptly the comforter stirs, legs skimming across the mattress. A shadow lifts out of the gloom as she pulls herself from the bed. She passes like a spirit through the room and stoops outside the door. Seconds later blue-white light fills the hall as she stands upright holding the flashlight that sits plugged into the wall socket. She points the beam ahead of her and enters the other room, where there lies a tiny figure asleep in the bed, bundled deep beneath the covers.

She stands over the child and listens for breath, watches for the shoulders to rise and fall. She sits at the edge of the bed. At this hour the house is quiet and still, there’s no sound save that of the weary resting. Some nights you feel you could sit there forever, just you and the dark and all that unparalleled quiet, if not for this darling small child.

On the beside table lies the slim black kit where she placed it the evening before. She reaches for it and pulls on the zipper and spreads the contents open on her lap: the meter, the test strip and lancet. When she is ready she reaches for the child’s hand, but the air in the room is chilly, the covers warm and snug. The arm extends only after some struggle. Then she arranges the fingers before her, holding them steady while adjusting the light and in the washed out, colorlessness of it all, the blood, when she draws it looks black. It forms a dark bead on the surface. Carefully she aims the tip of the strip at the tiny droplet and an instant later the meter beeps. Seconds pass. The beep sounds once more and she reads the number on the display.

She packs up the kit and zips it closed. She rises and turns to look back at the child. The arm has already withdrawn, tucked safely beneath the covers. She brushes the hair away from the small round face, tucks the sheets firmly about her shoulders and kisses her softly on the cheek.

The beam of light precedes her into the hall and she secures it to the  charger on the wall and moves as a shadow once more through the doorway.

The comforter lifts. The legs slip over the mattress. The stillness returns.

It’s one a.m and all’s well.

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