A Drink of Water

Momma. Graphite and white charcoal on tinted paper. 12×16

Bedtime was eight and, as I lay there in the dark, I listened to Daddy play the guitar. Momma was in the kitchen. The boys were probably fast asleep after a day of perpetual movement. “Momma!” I yelled with sudden inspiration.

“Yes?” I heard her voice from the far reaches of our military housing in Germany. We lived in a nice apartment with army-issued furniture. The sound of her voice echoed slightly, but it was still a beautiful comfort to me. “Yes?”

“I want a drink of water!” I don’t remember ever asking for a drink of water when I was in bed, before. Maybe I just needed to see her face and hear her voice one more time before I went to sleep.

“Just a minute” she said from the kitchen.

When she did not immediately appear, I yelled again. Perhaps she heard a little note of fearful desperation in my voice. She came quickly and found me sitting wide-eyed in the bed. She stopped in the doorway and smiled. “A minute is when you slowly count to 60.” Then she returned to the kitchen.

I slowly counted and she was back with my water before I got to 60. I drank. She rubbed my back. I handed her the glass. She kissed me, hugged me, tucked me in, told me she loved me, and left.

I slept.

A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them. — Victor Hugo

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