Someone Else by Alexandra White

Topic: Before Children

There would be someone else here, Hank thought, shielding his eyes against the bright glare of this, as he stood for a moment between the rows, one arm leaning on the hoe.

Finally, after the waiting and the false starts. After so many of Emma’s housedresses had been ruined with the rusty stains of loss, tiny baby sweaters still half-finished in the hope chest.

Now there would be someone, to be at his side in the fields, to smell the fresh dark earth with him–a child to feel slick worms between chubby baby fingers.

Emma had never really liked working outside. She always helped Hank without complaint, but he knew she was happier at home, shelling peas on the front porch, while the dog thumped his tail in a slow, peaceful beat.

It would be a boy, he was sure. A strong boy, with Emma’s serious, chocolate-brown eyes. But Hank would teach this boy to laugh. They would tell knock-knock jokes. He would carry the boy on his shoulders when they went to town. Hank would let him choose any candy he wanted—those long sticks of peppermint or butterscotch that you could suck forever, or the bright jelly drops that stuck in your teeth.

His son. It was too quiet with just Emma, always had been. She took up so little space that the farm seemed bigger and emptier, somehow. When he returned from the fields, she smiled hello, her hands full of knitting or mending, but she had nothing to say.

He would read the papers, while she rocked in the chair, and it was so quiet he could hear the hiss of a flame travelling down the wick of the lamp.

But the boy, he would be a chatterbox. The boy would sit by the fire and invent tall tales for Hank to hear. “Is that so?” Hank would say, delighted, as the boy told him of the giraffes that slept behind the hay bales, the gold coins that pirates had hidden before they fled on their towering ships.

There would be someone, thought Hank, as he dug the hoe in deeper into the ground, the sweat beginning to prickle his neck. Someone else in the world.

2 Responses to “Someone Else by Alexandra White”
  1. London Davis says:

    Alexandra, a great story on how a child can fill a void in our life. Sometimes it’s what keeps us going. Keep up the good work.

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