Outside, a winter storm turned the world into a wonderland of white. A strong wind whistled around the corners of the house and shook the window of the bathroom where Darcy bathed her son, William. It didn’t matter how dark and cold the world outside was, it was bright and warm within their home.
To keep her baby safe from the dangers of the tub, Darcy placed him in a Fisher Price bathing seat. She checked and rechecked the water to make sure it was the right temperature. The steam from the bath warmed the room.
With a tiny cup, she poured water down William’s back. She covered her hands with soap and lathered William’s smooth skin. A tingling sensation ran through her body. There was no feeling like this in the world.
When she rinsed him off, William giggled with delight.
“Who’s a good baby?” Darcy asked in baby talk. “You’re a good baby. Yes, you are. Yes, you are.”
A smile spread across William’s face. It was brighter than the sun on the newly fallen snow.
Who’s a good mother? Darcy thought. I’m a good mother. Yes, I am. Yes, I am.
They were wrong about me. Yes, they were. Yes, they were.
I would never hurt my baby. No, I wouldn’t. No, I wouldn’t.
Her ex-husband was a liar. Darcy never lost her temper with William. She didn’t shake him that hard when he wouldn’t stop crying. She no longer neglected to change his diaper. And she only left him unattended for five minutes while she went out to smoke a cigarette.
And that was because she didn’t want to burn him again. That one time was an accident. Honest.
By the third time she rinsed William, her fingers were wrinkled. He ceased squealing with delight and now shivered with cold.
Darcy lifted him from the tub and wrapped him in a fluffy white towel. The detergent claimed it would make her clothes smell spring fresh, but all she could smell were chemicals.
She dried William and carried him out of the bathroom. She placed him, still wrapped in the towel, on the changing table.
She slipped back into the bathroom to pull the plug from the tub. The storm outside provided a soundtrack as the water spiraled down the drain.
It was cold out there, but she needed a cigarette before she put William to bed. It would take less than five minutes.
Besides, William was comfortable and safe on his changing table. She could hear him cooing like an angel.
He was such a good baby, wasn’t he?
Thomas J. Misuraca studied Writing at Emerson College in his home town of Boston. Over eighty of his short stories have appeared in publications worldwide. Two of his novels have been published, including the vampire parody novel, Lifestyles of the Damned. He’s focused more on theater recently. Over one hundred of his one-act plays have been produced or stage read globally. And his full-length musical, Geeks!, was produced Off-Off Broadway in October 2012.