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Baby Danielle- A work in progress

This story is unfinished. It was part of a dream I had and needed to jot down. One of those stories that doesn't feel like my own, but someones I've been asked to tell. Feedback needed!

Ruth reached up and gently touched the aging wooden frame, peering into the faded photography. This was the only photograph of she and Danielle together, alive. It was like some black and white time machine, she was there again in that exact scene. She lay tired and happy in her Grandmothers four poster bed. The baby, Danielle, lie near her in the little cradle slowly breathing in and out. A few hours later, Danielle would be gone. Her grandmother was unable to wake the tiny baby, when she needed to be nursed. Ruth had just stared uncomprehending in her drowsy state as the baby was whisked away by a farm hand, called in from the fields. Then the tears came and she cried that whole day.

It was as if Danielle had been breathed into this world like a whisper and then faded away like she had never even been here at all. Ruth could only stare at the cradle and cry more. They hadn’t even let her say goodbye. She hadn’t gotten to hold her, just one last time. She had been passed to a farm hand and then buried promptly in the family cemetery.

The next day with her face puffy, tear stained, and pained, she listened as her mother spoke to her about how fortunate she truly was. She had been given a second chance; her mother went on to explain. No one would have to know now. They baby hadn’t even been issued a birth certificate. No dirty laundry to be aired later, her mother told her, as if Danielle was the ugliest and dirties secret capable of soiling them all. “Now stop your crying dear, you are really such a fortunate girl. So pretty, you will make a good marriage after all. “ Her mother concluded with a sigh of relief and left her.

Her mother left her in the expectation that Ruth would do as all the other women in her family have down for decades. She would have to pull herself up by her boot straps, smile, nod, and move on with dignity and grace. She felt no dignity in what had come to pass. She was hollow and empty.

She did move on or at least it seemed that way to everyone else. She carried on, returning to school, after her long visit with distant relatives. She did her chores, was polite enough to everyone. Late at night she would sneak out the back stairs, through the plowed dirt between her parent’s home and her grandmothers, to the family cemetery .The white wooden gate glowing in the moonlight at the top of the hill like some lighthouse beacon. She would place a tiny bouquet of wildflowers on the little grave, marked only with a tiny wooden cross.

There she would cry, and mourn the little baby she had once called Danielle. The baby no one wanted but her. She had loved Miles, the families cow hand, she had loved him so very much. She had wanted to run away with him, marry him, go far from this town, her family, this life. When she learned she was with child, she told him in the loft above the barn and he had fallen to his knees kissing her belly and then left. He had just left, saying it would be best for them all, he would not come back. She had to tell her mother then, she thought she would have rather leaped from the cliff high above town, but she had to tell someone. She wanted to keep the baby.

Her mother had a plan, she created while wringing her hands and pacing in the parlor that night. Danielle could stay home until she began to show, then she would go to her grandmothers next door. She would have to stay out of sight, until she carried the baby to term. They would tell everyone she had gone to help a cousin while she was expecting her first baby. After she had the baby, a hand would drive her and the baby to a nearby town. He would pay for their board on a stage coach and the baby and Ruth would come into town together. Ruth was to tell people her cousin died in childbirth and gave the baby to Ruth’s mother the closest living relative.

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