Walking Away

| by Myra Ann Rutledge |

It is early January, 1966, and I am 13.  I’m going home today, home after being away for over four months.   I lean over his crib one more time and smile as he grasps my finger in his tiny fist.  He doesn’t want me to go, nor do I want to go.  Yet I must.  It is time.  He has been born.  The papers have been signed.

I turn and begin to walk away.  He starts to cry.  Each step I take makes my feet feel as if they’re made of solid lead and that gravity has ten times its normal force.  He cries as the door to the newborn nursery closes, and I walk.  I open the door to the staircase, and I start down.  The door closes decisively behind me, and he cries.  I walk.  Each step is in slow motion, and the echoes of his cries ring through the stairwell.  He cries, and I walk down another step.  And then another.  And then another.

I can see the winter sun of that January morning through the large window on the landing.  The brightness suggests comfort and warmth, but it lies.  He cries.  I walk.  I cannot stop time.  I cannot stop motion.  At the bottom of the stairs, I hesitate.  His cries are more faint now as they echo off the pale institutional green walls, but the cries seem louder in my head.  I whisper, “Goodbye, my baby, my love, my life,” and walk through the door to the downstairs hallway.  My parents are waiting in the reception room to take me home.

I will not see my son again for 32 years, 4 months, and 25 days.

copyright 2007 — Myra Ann Rutledge


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