“You are not supposed to exist,” The woman snapped at an infant sprawled in her arms. “Why were you born? You were not supposed to be born. You were not supposed to be conceived, as an egg, even as a thought. You were not supposed to be born. It will be the end of both of us, death for you and eternal torture for me. Do you not realize that? You will be viewed as a freak! Deathly intellect and flagrant thought, you will be more clever than people tenfold your age. You are not supposed to exist!”
The infant yawned in response. Her gums were toothless with youth. Wrinkles of pallid pink skin piled up on the baby. Her eyelids had drooped, concealing the aquatic swirl of emerald and turquoise irises beneath pale soft flesh and flame-colored lashes. The same tangerine-scarlet color tufted as hair upon her head. Ten days after birth and the infant cried not a shriek or a wail; not even during birth did the infant bawl. Before the babe’s strange fit of laughter the previous day, the woman thought the child mute.
“Why can you not be ugly? To kill you would be much easier if you were homely. How I wish you were plain! You will grow up to be so beautiful.” Tenderly, she stroked a downy cheek on the baby’s face. “To grow up, I will never see you grown. You must die. You are fit to live as the people of one of my cities would deem, but you are not allowed to live. It is forbidden. Why have you made this so difficult? Why are you not small and trembling and weak?” She paused and straightened the child, imagining her older.
“I should like to see you grown. I am sure that you will not be tall or portly, nor refined or delicate. Stop tormenting me as such!” She placed the girl on the floor, the stone floor where it was frigid and unsafe, where she may on accident or purposefully crush the girl beneath her foot. “No, I cannot bear it. Why do you do this to me?”
Weakly, the infant barely raised its arms, begging to return to the warmth of her mother, though it was a late summer month and the woman needed no extra heat.
Unable to watch it struggle, the woman snuggled the child into her shoulder. Tears leaked from her eyes. “Why must I kill my own child? It is not fair! I would not have been born had such a rule been previously applied! Why now? Why to me? No one can know of your existence!” She screamed at the infant who paid her no heed, merely drooling on her mother’s dress. “I want to see you grown. Oh, you will be radiant and clever and delightful. Why am I not allowed to see you grow? Why are you not allowed to grow?” She kissed her forehead delicately, cradling her with an apologetic stare.
“Perhaps, it does not have to be this way. Your father is not forbidden to raise you. If you never find me, then no one shall ever know of your birth!” Her face dropped. “I would never see you grow. I would never help those feet take their first steps.” Wistfully, she cupped the infant’s toes in her hand. “I would never see you smile with full teeth. I would never see you again. It should be better to protect you than to murder you. Either way, I will suffer, but you might live. I love you so. Never forget that.” Two rivers flowed down her cheeks; her light eyes the source of the running water.
“My sweet beautiful girl, I never wanted a child, you know. That is until I saw you. This is your fault. How could you stare at me so adoringly already? How could smile toothlessly only to force me to smile back at you though I must end you? It is my greed that keeps you clung to my shoulder. Had I been wise, I would’ve squeezed the gentle life from you before I even saw you. I love you.” Her voice cracked with sadness.
The woman’s tears turned into sobs, loud hysterical sobs. She had needed to be alone, nearly a year of solitude to hide her pregnancy. And now her only conversation was the soft breath of her daughter, her daughter that she was forbidden to have, and would be ordered to kill if they were found. “I must decide what to do with you soon. It would tear open Eric’s heart to see me again; mine as well. Your father is the first man that I’ve ever loved, even made love to. To think of virginity at my age, it is laughable.”
She stopped her chatter. With a strong calming voice, she sang. It was in her native tongue, not of the current country where she resided; the song awed the baby and soothed the mother. “I cannot relinquish you to the care of another, even if he would be such a lovely father. I want to raise you, to teach you, to pacify you. Oh, it is so unjust!”