Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Newborn Thompson Boy

In case you missed it, things last left off with Sarah and Granny Rose HERE with the birth of Amelia's baby. 

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.

“Sarah?”

“Yessim?”

“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.

21 comments:

Home In The Hollow said...

Well written, a perfect scenario for sloth!...:)JP

JDaniel4's Mom said...

It sounds like a long night for her. How do you get a mom to nurse?

Nancy said...

What a frustrating situation.

texwisgirl said...

oh, i just want to take sweet Sarah to my house, tell her everything's going to be alright, and shelter her from all the world's pain.

Valerie said...

I love the folklore and wisdom you weave through your stories-it really gives them the flavor of the mountain people and their way of life.

Now-what will become of this little boy? I want more please:)

JDaniel4's Mom said...

When our crop comes in, I will try your recipe.

Sonya Heilmann said...

Wow! Sarah has her work cut out for her!

Andrea (ace1028) said...

Great post. I am really enjoying this story. I'm a little all over the place with the history, but that's cause you're like me and you're jumping between segments. ;) Unless it's just me being totally confused.

As for the sloth part, I don't truly get what sloth represents, so I can't say whether or not that applies well enough. I just know you were NOT sloth-like in any way when writing this part of your story. Straight through to the sound of the *language/dialect* you killed it!

Valerie said...

Lisa-go see what I came up with-thanks to your idea:)

Kim said...

I can't stand the idea of a baby being refused. You did a great job with this prompt. Vivid details!

Trisha said...

At the edge of my seat again...."force her"? Can't wait to see whats next !

CarliAlice @ GG2Life said...

Lisa: Thanks for coming to visit me, I'm following you back. I'm favoriting this because I need to read it from the beginning. You write very well and I can't wait to get the whole story!

blueviolet said...

I am just hoping that she will bond with that baby!

Dawn said...

So good....I'm wanting you to write the next part tomorrow please....:)

laughwithusblog said...

I love your stories! She'll grow to love the baby. I just know it! :)

lindsayfield said...

What a great story! The sweet Sarah definitely has her work cut out for her...

(Florida) Girl said...

I enjoy the color in your story and characters. This cultural undercurrent reads completely authentic to me and really draws me in.

CDG @ Move Over Mary Poppins! said...

I'm just pruriently curious about Amelia's history.

Is that wrong?

I love Granny Rose. The wise women fascinate me, and you write her with great strength. In this piece it's particularly clear against Amelia's refusal to deal with her obligations.

Way to do sloth!

Anonymous said...

I am loving this series! When are you going to put it all together and publish? This is becoming a very nice piece of Appalachain fiction!

-Mary Jo

Galit Breen said...

I love following this story line! You have such a way of bringing me to this time and place that I don;t actually know a lot about.

I hope they bond. Poor Sarah.

Anastasia said...

This broke my heart. I need to read more!