Mama screams and sucks in a ragged breath.
Tears flood my eyes. She’s never moaned like this before. Her face reddens, and the veins on her neck bulge. I choke back the ball of phlegm in the back of my mouth. I hate Ludmila for leaving. My fingers tremble as I place the cool rag on Mama’s forehead.
“Sasha made Katya breathe when she was in labor. Breathe, Mama. Like this.” I pant in short bursts.
Mama pants with me, her eyes bulging and as round as coins. She wails and then slowly relaxes. When her breathing returns close to normal, she points to the vodka bottle, breathless. “Bring that here.” She pats the space next to her, and the bed creaks as she shifts her weight to a sitting position, her back leaning against the wall.
I don’t want to give her the bottle. She’ll fall asleep. But she’s waiting and smacking her lips like I’m going to give her a candy bar. The look reminds me of when dogs wait for the butcher to throw them a bone, drool frothing from their mouths.
“Oksana!” She reaches further toward me. There’s a sharp edge in her voice. “Hand it over.”
I give it to her.
She twists off the cap and throws back a swig. A long swig. She pinches her eyes and shivers, but then smiles and recaps the lid. “I’ll be okay. Go get some towels, scissors, and thread from the box over there. She points across the room to her little sewing box and places the bottle next to her, her palm resting on it. For a second, I think maybe she’ll stay in control.
But then she groans low like a growl. It’s sudden, as if she’s surprised she’s having another pain. Sasha counted the minutes between Katya’s pains, but I don’t need to. I know it’s been less than two. Her pains are close. Already. I breathe with her.
When her spike in pain ends, she reaches for the bottle and chugs it again, then collapses onto the pillows.
I kneel down beside her and push back her long stringy hair that’s matted to her face. She’s wearing one of Sergey’s old cotton shirts. It’s missing buttons, and she’s naked from the waist down. I prop her up onto the pillows. and she bends her legs, exposing her bottom. A small bloodstain appears on the sheets.Join the tour
About the author:Michelle grew up in the burbs of Detroit with five brothers. No sisters. Each time her mom brought the boy bundle home from the hospital Michelle cried, certain her mom liked boys better than girls.
But when her brothers pitched in with the cooking, cleaning, and babysitting—without drama, Michelle discovered having brothers wasn’t so bad. They even taught her how to take direct criticism without flinching, which might come in handy with book reviews.
Michelle blogs at Random Writing Rants where she teaches and encourages writers how to get published.
Follow Michelle:Blog link: http://www.randomwritingrants.com Random Writing Rants Teaching adults and teens how to get published Website link: http://www.mweidenbenner.com Facebook link: http://www.facebook.com/randomwritingrants Twitter link: @MWeidenbenner1 Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7171873.M_Weidenbenner
Colette is a busy mom of 2 kids focusing solely on being a mom. She hails from the Caribbean and now balances the full life of being a SAHM and dabbling in odd jobs to help around the home. She enjoys sharing her memories, hopes, food, travel, entertainment, and product experiences on her blog. Please read my disclosure