This is part 4 of ‘Frames’, if you need to catch up before reading: click here.
Sometimes I think I’ve spent the whole of my life looking backwards. The memories in these frames are gone, sealed into the past by well polished glass. Now there’s not much time for reminiscing. The frames are still there, the picture of Maria from before she was born is still magnetised to the fridge by its little footprint. I just don’t look at them as much.
Maria makes sure of that. A newborn baby is a difficult thing to manage while you’re busy looking over your shoulder at what has been before. So instead I look at the little girl sleeping in her cot, with that satisfied grin James always wore when he slept. I look into the brightly coloured eyes of my baby girl and smile back at the ghost of my husband who seems to somehow be always beside her. I see him in the way she squints her eyes when she smiles and in the way her nose wrinkles up when she frowns. I hear him in the whispering snores as she sleeps. I know he is within her, he made her and he’ll be watching over her; just as he is watching over me.
I place my little bundle in the lavender sheets of her cot and flick the switch on her mobile. Bunnies bounce around the circle towards carrots that always never get closer and an awkwardly recorded nursery rhyme rattles out of the speakers. I watch her a moment before returning to my room and dropping onto the wrong end of my bed. James smiles back at me from our wedding photograph. The wedding that lasted only a few months, but that I know will remain in my heart forever. I may have already known what I had when I had it. But now that it’s gone the frames will I will always remember what I had.