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She is searching for the son taken from her arms
simply because she was believed to be a child herself.
She was unable to stand up to her parents’ wishes -
those GOD fearing upright Christians whose pride mattered
more than their daughter’s feelings.
Her son’s pink-cheeked newborn face, chubby and cute,
haunts her waking moments.
But in dreams, she sees him tall, athletic and so beautiful.
Beautiful like her Johnny, the boy with whom
she’d conceived her son
all those years ago.
Nathaniel she had named him, Nathan for short!
Shortly thereafter, she’d accidentally but happily
been given to know that the adoptive parents
were honoring the wish of the biological mother.
They’d kept his name Nathaniel.
Though she knew not their surname,
his name was her glittering hope. It IS her hope today,
for this one piece of knowledge has sustained her
through the eighteen long years that were to follow
that long sweltering summer before her child’s birth.
That summer so long ago,
when she'd been made to stay at her aunt’s house
in a little town far away from her city
and out of sight of her parents’ friends.
As her belly grew larger, she would bide her time,
sometimes taking walks.
Past a rusty gate that led into an old graveyard,
she would seek shelter from the sun,
along a green shady path meandering past headstones
headstones with names of souls
who once inhabited this strange little town
where she was spending the fifteen summer of her lifetime.
She'd never been the child her parents believed her to be;
she was an old soul.
She could have been a good mother.
If only Johnny had not deserted her.
Oh, beautiful Johnny, the father of her Nathan!
Surely she'll see her son soon,
and surely he will resemble the love of her youth.
She has returned to this little town
where she’d felt her Nathan’s tiny fingers
wrap around hers that last day she held him -
as if imploring her to stay.
But obedient daughter that she was,
she gave her son away.
Today her Nathan turns eighteen.
Born August 28th, he can’t be hard to find.
How many Nathan’s with that same birth date
could exist in this little town?
She has kept the vow she made to herself all those years ago -
to not try to see her son until he became an adult.
Now she is finished visiting the town’s two schools.
There is no record
of a Nathan, Nate or Nathaniel born Aug. 28th.
All these years clinging to her hope.
Had the adoptive parents left town?
Had her son never grown up in the little town at all?
With dismal thoughts swirling in her mind,
she finds herself walking. . .
walking like she did in the summer of her tribulation.
Past a rusty gate is that old graveyard
she remembered from before.
Here she is again on another sweltering August day
walking along a green shady path
meandering past headstones.
Almost instantly, her eyes are drawn to a small mound
and a stone overgrown with vines.
A strange dread has come upon her.
As if compelled by some strange force,
she finds herself yanking the vines off the tiny headstone!
Tears well up in her eyes as she reads the birth date on the stone
and sees the very short span of life revealed
by the date of death of
her son Nathaniel.
Entered now for the "Let the Pens Flow" Contest of Jenish Somadas
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