We named her Mary. The child we lost. We never did learn the gender. But I knew she was a girl. I knew because I had a dream about her before she died. In my dream I saw her—a perfectly-formed baby girl somersaulting in the celestial darkness of the womb, her translucent arms hooked around her knees, her cherubic face tilted to the side. Mary was the name on my lips when I woke. I told Greg, and he pulled me close and kissed me on the forehead.
At twelve weeks we had an ultrasound. We saw her—the glowing outline of her head, the elegant curve of her back, the intricate puzzle of her developing internal organs. We heard her heartbeat, too—a grating sound, like a scraper over an icy windshield. The technician told us her heart rate was one hundred and seventy beats per minute. “A nice normal heartbeat,” she said. “Baby’s doing great.” Two weeks later Mary was gone.
The morning after we lost her, I couldn’t get out of bed. I felt weighted down, buried. The mattress was the earth. My body was a coffin. Greg called my department head and told him I wasn’t coming in. He offered to stay home with me, but I told him to go to work. “I’ll be fine,” I said.
After he left, I tried to sleep, but I couldn’t. I kept thinking about the baby—about what it would have felt like to cradle her in my arms, to comfort her when she cried. I longed to pat her downy head and quiet her sobs. “You’re going to be okay,” I whispered into my pillow.
A little before noon, I managed to get out of bed. I had been crying for an hour, and I knew I wouldn’t stop unless I got up and did something. I had to get out of the house.
I tugged my coat on over my nightgown, slipped my sockless feet into my boots, and went outside to warm up my car. I had no idea where I wanted to go. I just had to go. I didn’t care that it was nearly a whiteout.
At the end of the driveway, my car got stuck in the snow. I got out, dug around the tires with my ungloved hands, and tried to back out again, but the car wouldn’t budge. A woman walking by saw me struggling and stopped to help.
“Put it in reverse, and I’ll push from the front,” she said.
I did as she said, and in a minute, the car was free. I was so grateful, I got out of my car and went over to hug her. As I held her, I started crying again.
“You’re going to be okay,” she said, patting my back. And right then I knew it was my girl. I knew she’d come to save me.
Jack Somers’s work has appeared in WhiskeyPaper, Jellyfish Review, Literary Orphans, and a number of other publications. He lives in Cleveland with his wife and their three children. You can find him on Twitter @jsomers530 or visit him at www.jacksomerswriter.com.