They woke together on Saturday as the sun spilt in through the gap in the curtains. “Mmm, she slept all night,” Carys whispered smiling as Jake, her husband planted fairy kisses all over her head and shoulders. Kisses that barely became kisses before floating to another area.
“Will I go check on her?” he asked Carys whilst continuing down her body.
“No, leave her, she will cry when she’s ready. When was the last time we got a Saturday morning love-in? Must’ve been four months at least.”
Carys and Jake made slow, lovers love to each other, they were still young, still in love, still passionate. Jake slipped out of bed, padded across the room and into the bathroom. Carys heard him start the shower, she slipped out of bed, thought about joining him but decided they had already had bonus sex. She went into the nursery.
Wee Charlotte was lying in her cot, waiting for her mammy patiently, too patiently and as Carys got closer she could see there was no breath in the body of her little angel. She knelt down, surprised by how calm she was, cried silent tears and prayed. Jake found her there ten minutes later, kneeling, crying and praying.
Jake immediately thought of their early morning romp and felt guilty, if he had only checked on the baby first, if he had only… He did not go to Carys.
Carys moved through the funeral serenely, Jake was a mess. Their lives became more disparate and in time they separated and divorced. Charlotte was laid to rest after a brief autopsy, sudden infant death, being the cause on the death certificate.
Carys moved on, grieving was seen as textbook for a grieving mother. Jake in comparison, his life fell apart, he lost his job, he began to drink heavily. After many years of dereliction he sought out Carys.
Jake appeared on her doorstep one day in November, it was just beginning to get colder. “I’m sorry,” he said as she warily opened the door.
“Jake, is that you?”
“Um, yeah it’s me, I guess I don’t look how I useta.”
“No, I mean, yes, no. What I mean is I recognised your eyes and the way you said sorry. You had a special way of saying it. What are you sorry for?”
Jake explained briefly and then walked away leaving Carys on her knees praying, but this time her wracking sobs were violent, loud with edges and sharp pointy bits.
Charlotte was exhumed a few months later and the cause of death changed. A warrant for Jake’s arrest was made. He was not found though Carys felt vindicated.
Jake jumped from a bridge into freezing water in December calling Charlotte’s name as he did. He couldn’t live with what he had done. Intentional methadone overdose was the amended cause of death, Jake just wanted one night of peace, one night of sleep, one night without Charlotte. He didn’t bargain for what he got; a lifetime without her.