My mommy is the best mommy there is, and all I’ve every wanted is to make her life easier and happier.

She cooks and cleans for Daddy and me, and she takes me to school and helps me with my homework and rubs Daddy’s back when he comes home tired from working at “The Factory” all day.

She always smiles at us, too.

But I know she’s not happy all the time.

I hear her cry at night after Daddy starts snoring, and I’ve seen her eyes all red and wet when I come into the kitchen some mornings. I wonder if she’s been crying all night, but when I ask her if she’s alright, Mommy always says, “Right as rain, Puddintane!”.

The first time I noticed that Mommy was really sad was right after Emma Sue died. Emma Sue was my baby sister, and she stopped breathing one night. “Jesus took her to be his angel,” Mommy said. I don’t know whether that’s true or not, but even if it is, it didn’t seem to make Mommy much happier.

And then, a couple of years later, Ellen died, too. Ellen was my older sister, and she was married to Tom Harper, who works with Daddy at “The Factory.” Ellen was going to have a baby, but when it was time, a bad thing happened. Tom said the doctor told him something popped in her head, and she died before she could push the baby out. The doctor pulled out the baby — another girl — but it was dead, too.

Mommy said that Jesus took Ellen and her baby to be his angels and when I said he already had Emma Sue and why did he need so many angels, Mommy said it wasn’t our place to question God’s will. I wanted to ask more questions, but Daddy squeezed my shoulder hard with his big, strong hand, and that told me I should be quiet. So I just nodded and hugged Mommy, and she cried.

Not long after Ellen died, Mommy and Daddy told me that I was going to have a little brother or little sister, and Mommy seemed happier for awhile. When Tommy was born, Grandma came to stay with us and help Mommy with the new baby. She also did some of the cooking and cleaning, and I noticed that Mommy started spending a lot of time in her bedroom, tending to Tommy, I suppose.

After awhile, Grandma went home, and Mommy started taking care of Daddy and me again, but she never smiled anymore. Daddy said she was upset because of the new baby and because Grandma had left.

Tommy cried all the time, and I could hear Mommy walking around with him all night, every night. She got really tired and yelled at me a lot, and she even stopped rubbing Daddy’s back at nights.

Then, when Tommy was two, he died in his crib. He stopped breathing like Emma Sue had.

I didn’t ask Mommy why Tommy had died, but she told me that “Jesus took him to be his angel” anyway.

Only, Jesus didn’t take Tommy. Ellen did.

Well, really, Ellen told me to take Tommy. She came to my bedroom one night while Mommy was pacing the floors in the other room, and she told me that the reason Mommy was sad all the time was that children were so very hard. I figured Ellen should know considering she died while trying to have her own child.

So I sneaked into Mommy’s room one night after she put Tommy down but before she and Daddy went to bed, and I put my pillow over Tommy’s face until he stopped breathing.

Mommy slept all through that night and didn’t find Tommy until the next morning. She screamed when she found him and cried all day long, but she slept all the way through that night, too.

I had finally found a way to help Mommy.

And things were better for awhile, too, until Mommy and Daddy told me last week that I was going to have another little brother or little sister. Why did this curse keep happening to us, to Mommy?

Last week, though, Ellen came to me again. This time she told me why Mommy keeps getting pregnant, and that I needed to make it so that couldn’t happen anymore. Otherwise, Mommy would never be happy.

So I stayed awake all night last night — Friday night — waiting for the right time. First I heard Mommy and Daddy talking.

A while later there was some bumping, and Daddy grunted a few times.

Then, Daddy started snoring and, after that, Mommy started crying.

Finally, around six this morning, I heard their bedroom door creak open, and Mommy’s light footsteps came my way. Daddy was still snoring.

I closed my eyes tight and pretended to be asleep, and I heard my door open. Mommy stood there for a few seconds, then closed the door and walked to the kitchen.

I waited awhile to make sure she wasn’t coming back before I got up and pulled the garden shears from under my bed. I tiptoed to Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom, opened the door, and slipped inside.

Daddy didn’t move until I pulled the blankets back. That’s when he sat up and yelled. I hit him hard on the head with the clippers and then pulled down his pants to finish helping Mommy.

Daddy and I must have made too much noise, because I can hear Mommy’s footsteps coming down the hallway again now. They’re heavier and faster than before, and she’s calling Daddy’s name.

I think Mommy is going to be happy with my surprise, though. She might never have thought about it on her own, but thanks to Ellen and me, Mommy will never have to worry about any other children again.

As soon as she opens the door, I’ll take care of the last one, and then it will be just Mommy and me.

 

Originally written in response to Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge: Right vs. Wrong.

 

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