Bloodstained Nation of Tears

I smell her stink, over there on the toilet. It always stinks here. My cellmate stares intently at the newspaper whose headline states that New York has been destroyed by one of those nukes the nations had agreed never to use. I couldn’t care less. Surrounded as I am by four walls of concrete, with a window that gives no light, besides, I won’t be around much longer anyway. Three years I was happy…things looked so bright. Now I stare at the spring-less mattress above me, stained by many years of bunkmates as filthy as my own. My mother. She fell and broke her hip. The doctors gave her the wrong medication. An allergic reaction caused her death. It was claimed that because we didn’t tell them about her allergy we were at fault. Insurance didn’t pay out. The medication they gave her was an anti-depressant. Not a painkiller. My husband was furious. I was raging upset.. My brother enrolled in the marines and went to war. An overblown war over the oil we wouldn’t be using much longer anyway. There was no reason in it. Children trapped in a building, flames licking at the stone structure. My brother, Jake, he rushed in. He wanted to save them, remembered his own children. Then… Brains and blood, splattering the floor in front of two flaming children. Guns. War. He left a widow, and two beautiful girls. Heartbroken, me, my father, and my husband, found comfort together. Sharing our miseries at the loss of two members of our family. The negligence of our country could not have hurt us more. It was soon after this we learned that new life was to be introduced into our family. I was pregnant with a beautiful boy. I remember him so well when he was born. Exhausted, when the doctors handed me my son, I stared into his cherubic face. The way he looked up at me reminded me so much of my brother. His name was thereafter Jacob. He had a full head of his father’s brown hair. His father’s blue eyes with an innate form of intelligence to them. He had my smile; his father always said that. The letter in my hand crumpled…I can hardly feel it. I can still feel the pain in my wrists. We knew something was different about our son. From the start he learned more quickly than I

thought possible. He was potty-trained before we could complain about the cost of diapers. Walking as soon as he had the muscles. He recognized pictures that he shouldn’t, and he was never sick. At first, our doctor told us we were biased because we were parents. Soon after our talk with Jacob’s doctor, one of Jake’s children fell deathly ill. This led to a Hospital visit with our two year old son. The doctors had no hope of her recovery. This last fever was going to kill her. Jacob jumped up to his cousin…Jake saved her. Jacob’s tears fell to the face of my niece and her fever broke. It was a miracle. Jacob came back to my legs and looked up at me while the doctors checked my niece’s vitals and fussed about how impossible her recovery was. “I did it for you mommy. It would hurt you too much.” I must admit I was frightened, and when I told my cool-headed rational husband, he said we should take him in for some tests. So we did. His IQ was off the chart. Nobody could explain him. Everything he touched seemed to be imbued with new and exuberant life. So my husband and I sat back and enjoyed our blessed company. Never realizing anything could go wrong. Jacob was three. It happened so fast. Black car… My Father. Guns. There were threats, no one took them seriously. By the time someone did, my father was already dead. Some religious group or another learned of my son. The government had a file on him. They watched my family like a hawk without our knowledge. The government hoped he would be a military genius someday. Command their armies. We were taken into government protection. Jacob was so sweet. My Father. Religious Zealots. Guns. Blood. My son sat in my lap. My husband’s arms enveloped my shaking body. My son’s head rested on my heaving chest as the agents spoke of my father as if he meant nothing. I wanted to scream, “he meant something to me!” My husband’s hands began caressing my shoulders, calming me, assuring me that we had each other, that everything would be okay so long as we were together.

That window. Three weeks passed in the safe house. Everything was okay; I couldn’t get over the sudden loss of my father. They wouldn’t let me attend his funeral. I felt I was imprisoned, trapped in a cookie cutter house. My only comfort was I had my husband, and I had my beloved son. I saw in him my mother, my brother, and my father. Glass Exploding. I ran to the living room from the kitchen. Jacob was playing in a room nearby. I tried to tell him to stay back. The car drove away, I saw nothing through the immediate tears. My husband’s shirt, stained with blood. Bullet through the chest. The phone lay a foot from where his hand had fallen. Blood everywhere. Sirens in the distance. Nothing would be okay anymore. My husband sat bleeding to death in my lap. His mouth, full of blood, I kissed him for the last time. I tasted the blood that stained our family. There was Jacob. Eyes full of his blessed tears. “I can’t help him mommy. I can’t help him.” Guns. Blood. My husband was cleaned away as if he were never there. The anger filled me and I could not see a straight course of action. I was blinded by my anger. Then Social Services was on my doorstep. The safest thing for my son was to go with them. They said. Jacob screamed. Couldn’t let them take this one last comfort… The Gun. Blood. My son was taken from me. I was a criminal now. He was an innocent child. A Christian family took him in. I had been here two weeks. With no companionship but my loss. I had just received a letter from the foster parents. My husband, My father, My brother, My mother. My son. The crumpled paper in my hand. I can’t feel it, but I remember what it says. While everything else fades, I will remember my son’s last words.

“The world doesn’t deserve me.” The paper is notification of my son’s death. They’re not sure how it happened, one person’s negligence or another. It doesn’t matter. Nothing else matters. Everywhere War. Everywhere Guns. Everywhere Blood Can’t feel my wrists. Can’t feel where my head rests. Can’t feel the starched material of the ancient gray blanket. Blood. Screams. A filthy hand touches my brow. My vision fading. The last bit of tenderness in a dying world. A world that brought its own destruction upon it. A world that deserves it. A key. Bars. Too Late. Peace.

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