THE KINDNESS / Leah Noel
📷 : @chanda_williams .
The voices in the living room mean nothing now; nothing more than the cawing of crows. The baby kicks inside her and she hunches over her distended belly as if curling into a fetal ball would halt the minutes passing, buy them both more time.
But the clock ticks.
The voices caw.
"Adoption," is the word currently gaining ground. It fires from the older women's tongues with increasing repetitiveness. Not daring to move, her eyes flick up pleadingly.
But while they debate her life, no one looks at her. She just wants to be seen; truly, deeply seen. Maybe that's what she wanted all along...
A prickle at the back of her neck. She turns her head. The bearded, bespectacled man is watching, gaze clear of disappointment, empty of judgment. What is it in his eyes, that spark she can't discern? She looks away. The owners of the cawing voices stand and sigh and say their goodbyes. They are done for the day, done debating what she, a mere teenager, should do. When she stands, her heart tumbles to her feet. She thinks she must leave it there on the floor, to be walked on some more. But the bespectacled man comes to her, puts a hand on her shoulder. Whispers, "You're going to be a great mom."
Fifteen years later, she still thinks of that moment, that man. He was right. He saw a truth that, in her pain, she was blind to... and in speaking it, opened her eyes, lifted her heart off of the floor, and handed it back to her that day, a little bit stronger, a little more whole.