If you were dying, what would be on the list of moments that
mattered most to you? That shaped your life? What would you choose to remember
or choose to ignore even in the face of death? Who would you miss? What would
you regret not doing? Who would you regret not loving? In the face of your own
mortality or in the face of your lover’s, what would be part of the list?
I remember the exact moment I fell in love with Bailey. He was barely fifteen and I was nothing more than the sappy thirteen year old obsessed with the older, bright eyed, dark brown haired boy with an accent that would make any country lover proud. It was right before church, and Bailey was in the same place he always was, the nursery. He loved to be around kids, but babies were his favorite. There was something about holding the very beginning of life, a clean slate, an unbiased soul that was exhilarating to him. Sometimes people forget that hatred isn’t born. It’s bred. It’s instilled and re-instilled through words as well as actions. Unfortunately for us that simple truth has haunted us like an unsettled spirit seeking revenge on a world it was afraid had forgotten it.
I lean against the door frame as he cradles the infant to his broad, white t-shirt covered chest. He rocks her and hums his favorite hymn. I do my best to hide my giggles. Only Bailey can get away with singing Noelle in the middle of August. Slowly, he turns his body to face mine. With a wide grin he locks eyes with me and states, “Someday, you’re gonna be holdin’ ours.” A smile hits my lips. I love the slight twang he’s trying to
hide. “She’s gonna be beautiful just like you.”
Thick glasses. Brown hair instead of the favored blonde. Brown skin by nature, not golden sun kissed like everyone else I know. A little too full up top. Thighs that most girls would cry over because they touch. I wear t-shirts at the pool to hide those flaws. I mean, my teeth are straight and I have less zits than most girls my age, but my face is fatter. I don’t wear makeup. I’ve never even had my eyebrows plucked. No part of me is worthy of being called beautiful. Not even a little. “And she’s gonna have your dimple, too.”
I want to argue that the hole in my cheek created when I smile isn’t an enhancement, it’s an embarrassment, but Bailey doesn’t wait for my response. He simply winks and returns to singing. All of a sudden Mrs. Kathy places the infant she had been holding in one of the cribs and scolds “Don’t go making promises in the Lord’s house you don’t plan to keep, Bailey Cooper.” “Oh, I plan to keep it, Mrs. Kathy…” He glances up to give me another smirk. “See, I love Kenny. Always have. Always will.”
ABOUT XAVIER NEAL
Xavier Neal lives in Texas where she spends her time getting lost in writing, reading, or fandoms she recently discovered. Whether she is enjoying books or movies, she continues finding inspiration at every turn to bring more exciting stories to life.