The Elegant Gathering of White Snows

The Elegant Gathering of White Snows Read Online Free PDF Page A

Book: The Elegant Gathering of White Snows Read Online Free PDF
Author: Kris Radish
Tags: Fiction, Literary
my lips.
    Chester drove like a madman, never looking at me or saying a word. The bottom of the truck rumbled as if it had never been quite bolted in place and once, when he hit a rut and it felt as if my bottom had been ripped open, I shouted for him to be careful.
    These days when I go to the hospital I am amazed at how it all works. There are couches and soft lights and bedsheets that offer the colors of the rainbows. In my day, it was all cold and steel and curt doctors and nurses who made me want to run and hide. They could have been kind at least. They could have held my hands while Chester paced the halls leaving a trail of grease on the white floor. But then they were all business, and I had to calm myself, which somehow just never seemed quite right.
    What had started out so fast seemed to take forever. Annie took her sweet time moving herself down inside of me, and when I thought the pain of it all would make me pass out, I imagined her face and then I counted again. I would never tell another woman that she will forget the pain of childbirth. There is no way to forget the pain of childbirth. Years later the remembrance of the pain would wake me from the dead of sleep, and I could feel sweat running down the insides of my legs and the pillow would be soaked. It is a beautiful, wonderful miracle to have a baby but the pain, the pain can make me wince even now when I have suddenly never felt so free and happy.
    The birthing hours passed like years in that big room. Once I heard another woman come through the doors and they put her on the other side of the curtain for a while. She was crying softly and when I turned on my side, I could see the curve of her belly. I wanted everyone to go away so I could talk to her. I planned how they could move our beds together and we could lie on our sides, face to face, and hold hands. I pictured her face and made up a story about her life. I saw her later holding a baby in her arms, but I could not bear to see it or let them come near me. I am ashamed to say that now, but only since I have started this walk. With each step something new is pushed through me, something terrible from that time and the more I walk, the less there is left.
    Chester is one of those men who would not have been able to be with me even if they had let him. He is strong about many things and has seen more than his share of life and death and blood and guts while working on the farm, but he could not bear to be in the same room with me and see the arch of pain cross my face. When I finally tired of hearing his footsteps outside the delivery room, I asked the nurse to please make him sit down.
    “Sir,” I heard her whisper to him. “Your pacing is bothering your wife. She needs to concentrate now, so please take a seat out in the waiting room and don't come back here until someone comes to get you.”
    That's not quite how I would have said it but this nurse was no Florence Nightingale. Chester must have turned immediately, because I heard his boot heels hitting the floor and then there was no sound except for my own heavy breath and the nurse fooling around with some towels and more metal objects in the corner.
    This is when I started to talk to Annie. I thought if she could hear my voice that maybe she would want to come out and see what I looked like. I talked to her at first like I would to any baby. Sweet baby talk and whispers and I called her “my sweet baby girl.” I told her over and over again how much I loved her and when I wanted to bite down right through my own lip because of the pain, I talked even more.
    Just after I started talking to Annie, I noticed the nurse lift up her head to look at me. In that moment I wondered if she was a mother and if she thought about her own delivery each and every time they wheeled a crying woman through the doors of the hospital. But that is the only time she ever met my gaze. I ignored her for the rest of the time and focused only on my baby girl.
    “Sweet
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