This week's Red Dress Club Prompt is; Another week, another deadly sin. Why not?
For this week's prompt, let's talk about sloth. Emotional or spiritual apathy. It's not doing what we think we should. It is closer to apathy than it is to simply being lazy. It is putting your kids in front of the TV instead of playing with them, for instance.
I found this quote - I believe from Samuel Beckett - that I love for this prompt: "Sloth is all passions the most powerful."
Granny Rose pushed the wailing black baby at Sarah, and said, “Clean ‘im up,” as she turned to begin the process of delivering the afterbirth. Her hands worked over Amelia’s puffy, bruised belly, massaging as Amelia moaned and asked anxiously, “The baby, can I see the baby?”
“It’s a boy, Amelia. I’ll get ‘im to you soons we get you fixed up now,” Granny Rose said.
This was the first time Sarah had ever held an infant. She carefully wiped the blood off the blackened child. He began to quiet, and was perfect in his full head of black hair, his 10 fingers, his 10 toes. As he quieted, she cautiously wiped harder at a spot on his arm, and harder still, but the coal black of his skin didn’t wipe off. Tiny blue eyes stared at Sarah, wide, and full of wise understanding. For a moment, Sarah felt as though it was only her and this baby, as if the rest of the world didn’t exist. She was surprised by an instant bond, pulling her in, making her want to hold him tighter. Night, she thought. He’s like the dark calm of night. She instinctively pulled him closer, and breathed the sweetness of his warmth.
“Sarah. Bring ‘im over now,” Granny Rose said.
Sarah brought the baby to Granny Rose who gestured to the afterbirth and said, “Go bury that under t’ apple tree, so’s the boy will never go hungry.”
Granny Rose took the baby and gently laid him by Amelia.
Amelia took one look at the baby and shrunk away in repulsion, “Tha’s not my child,” she said, “Get ‘im away.”
“Now ‘Melia, this babe’s healthy. ‘E’s your boy. You got to feed ‘im now.”
“I won’t,” Amelia said, and she rolled her weary beaten body over to face the hewn log wall, despondent.
"Please Amelia," she begged, but there was no response.
Granny Rose tried prodding her but Amelia had fully embraced her apathy and refused to speak or move.
Sarah felt sadness for the unwanted baby as she carried the afterbirth, wrapped in layers of towel, outside and grabbed a shovel. She made quick work of getting it into the soil under one of the Thompsons’ five apple trees. Mr. Thompson and his four children on the porch watched somberly, and Sarah knew she should speak, should say something about Amelia and the child, but she didn’t know what to say.
She finished her work and walked back inside, as she knew there was more cleaning to tend to yet. Granny Rose had swaddled the baby tightly by then, and he was wrapped and asleep on the bed next to Amelia’s unmoving form.
“You gonna have ‘t stay here. Just ‘til Amelia takes ‘t the child. You give ‘er these herbs twice tonight, in tea, to ‘elp her milk come in. You got to see that she feeds ‘im. She ain’t fed ‘im yet and he’ll starve if she won’t nurse ‘im. If she won’t by the morn you jus’ make ‘er. “
Sarah had absolutely no idea how to force a grown woman to nurse her newborn, and she didn’t know a thing about taking care of the child herself. But she meekly nodded, and sat down softly at the edge of the bed to wait.
Critique is welcomed and encouraged.