Inches

It was just a scrap of fabric, something small and unremarkable in every fashion, save for the fact that the satin trim was only on two sides, instead of all four. It was too small to be anything useful, too thin to be something like a runner, a napkin, a doily, too fine to be something like a placemat, a rag, a kerchief.

He held it in one hand, and a glass with four inches of scotch in the other.

Blue eyes stared at it for long moments, and in short order, the other hand held a glass with only 2 inches of scotch.

Bringing the soft, pink piece of blanket to his face, he breathed in the scent of baby. Infant, small and precious and perfect, and now laying dead and cold beneath fresh earth.

Infant with blue eyes, black curls and someday, her mother’s smile.

The hand now held an empty glass, and so he set it down and refilled it, all without looking; he was an accomplished drunk.

“Baby,” he murmurs softly, his fingers rubbing over the softness of the fabric, and he breathed in again the scent of baby, that peculiar smell that’s not detergent or talc powder, formula or breastmilk or lotion or anything but… baby.

One hand, the blanket. The other hand, another four inches of scotch.

Blue eyes stare at the pink satin trim and the warm soft of the blanket, and Simon sets it on the arm of the chair, just to look at it.

Two inches of scotch.

Gentle fingers pet the blanket, fingertips sliding over the softness that reminds him of a little cheek, barely rosy, and the bluest eyes.

Shh, it’s okay. Daddy’s here.

The glass is empty, and he refills it, still staring at the blanket, unblinking. Four more inches.

“If I hold you too long,” he tells the scrap conversationally, “you won’t smell like her anymore. If I keep you in my pocket, or my hand, you’ll lose that smell. It’ll fade away like smells do, like the smell of peach shampoo and the smell of your grandmother, and your mother, and now you.”

Two inches.

“If I hold you too long, you’ll smell like blood, instead of baby.”

Empty.

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0 Responses to Inches

  1. Trent Lewin says:

    Devastating. And shattering. And not something I want to revisit. Now you’re haunting my dreams, Jones. Not that you didn’t before. But you are one uncompromising, fearless writer with a taste for throwing me for loops. This hurts so bad it just eradicated my buzz. So now I’ll write, and thank you for that, you fucking unbelievable wild soul, you are every kind of terrifying wonderful that I can dream of.

  2. Trent Lewin says:

    Are your eyes really that blue?

  3. Mark Baron says:

    Oh man, the impact here…what an amazing, devastating piece of work. Really, really well done.

  4. Adan Ramie says:

    What a beautiful, heartbreaking piece. I’ll definitely be coming back to read more of your work.

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