My sweet little man. That bright-smiled deep-dimpled love of my heart.


I at once craved and dreaded seeing my little angle. Excited because his smile, his laugh, his breast-fed plumpness and joy brings a smile to my face so easily; dreaded because to see him again means his mother is still sick.

And so my heart rose and fell when his aunt called out to me. He was asleep on her back, head partially obscured so that it took a moment before I recognized him. I cooed softly over his sleeping form and then turned my attention to the woman carrying him.

“does this mean she is still bleeding?”

A few weeks ago Elijah’s mother had presented at the Outpatient Department but was referred to the hospital.  She had been bleeding since his birth – four months prior. They ordered a D and C and hoped that would take care of the problem. Seeing Elijah asleep under the tree meant it hadn’t.

“she is still bleeding,” the aunt answered me. “they have given her all of this,” here she opened her bag to show an assortment of baggies filled with different colored pills and four bottles of long acting penicillin.”

I asked a few questions, “Do they know what is wrong? What are the drugs for? Will she be cured?” There weren’t an abundance of answers and so I reached for the sleeping figure. His aunt jostled him lightly but I urged her to let him sleep.

He slept in my arms, heavy on breast milk, but soon began to stir. He stared up at me without recognition but didn’t cry. A few moments later, fully alert, he smiled toothlessly up at me, all gums and dimples and bright eyes. And so I sat and played with him, much more active this time – using his legs to spring about. People passed by and remarked on my little man, my tiny husband.

I exchanged phone numbers with his aunt and gave a final nuzzle to his soft brown neck before walking home. A little while later, camera in hand, I went looking for the family – eager to capture a photo of the child that captured my heart so easily. But they were gone. Maybe it is best…things that live in the memory are often sweeter than anything that might try to capture it.

Even so…I may venture out to the village where they live…maybe take some rice or fruit…say hello and goodbye to my little love.

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