freewrite: The Quiet


They call it milk-breath, that sweet scent that babies exhale and use to hypnotize their mothers. Not just milk-breath, but sweet cream breath, condensed milk breath, condensed, just like their bodies. Condensed, and concentrated. A potion, a tincture. Everything about him grips my attention, even when he’s still.

Right now he sleeps on my lap, having dozed off after nursing. An afternoon snooze, a rest, a respite. His brain may be whirring, cataloging the infinite lists of new things he is experiencing, and his bones may be growing, lengthening, but his body is limp across my thighs. Every few minutes, a hand or a sockless row of toes grips one of my biceps, like a leaf fluttering in the faintest summer breeze. His breath (condensed creamy milk breath) puffs in and out against my belly (my not-so-condensed belly, still soft from months of weight-bearing expansion, still soft to cushion the baby that lives on the outside instead of the inside but still oh so close). Outside the day is the most warm and beautiful we’ll see all month, but I hesitate to make any more motion than that required to type. He’ll sleep no more than twenty minutes unattended, but on my body, pressed against the skin that once contained him, surrounded by the smells and rhythms he has known from the very very very beginning, he’ll remain for ages, eons, eternity. I wonder if my own scents, my own breath, my pheromones, my common odors, are to him what his baby scents are to me. I wonder if we are equally intoxicating to one another. Or if my scent simply feels like his scent, not mind-altering, but mind-settling, comforting, apple pie or chamomile or fresh cotton sheets.

Either way, I would be a fool to disrupt this, his mini-retreat back to the recreated peace of the womb, so we’ll sit just a bit longer…


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