It wasn't time yet. That's what she said. It wasn't time.
He sat in his safe place, knees drawn up to his chin, staring with great intensity at nothing. He rocked, slightly. He felt so eager.
But it wasn't time yet. That's what she said.
He wished it was time. He wished he could go now. He knew things would be different. He just knew it. The loneliness he'd carried around with him, the fear that always gripped him, all that would be gone. He knew it. He wanted to go where everything would be better.
Except she said it wasn't time.
So he waited.
And doubt entered his mind.
What if things weren't better? What if it didn't wash away this time. He'd done this before, after all. He drew his knees up closer and tightened his grip on his legs. He buried his face in his knees. Things always seemed better at the beginning, but he always managed to do something wrong, which led to everything unraveling and him ending up back here.
For it to be time.
He hoped she would come see him before he left, instead of just telling him when it was time. He liked it when she came to see him. But she was busy. She had a big job. So sometimes, she couldn't come.
So he waited.
His mother sat in the midwife's office, hand resting on her ample round belly. The midwife was telling her it could still be a week or two yet, and to be patient.
"It's likely this is just false labor," the midwife said.
His mother laughed without much humor. "Fells pretty real to me," she said.
The midwife flashed her a smile that was meant to be warm and supportive but, given the circumstances, just seemed patronizing. "I'm sure it does."
He sat with his knees up and rocked again. Something was happening. He knew it. She wasn't here, but he was getting ready to go.
In the midwife's office, his mother felt something warm splash against her thigh.
Something strange was happening to his safe place. It seemed familiar, whatever it was. He thought it meant he'd be going soon.
And then she was there, a bright shining light in his soul. She asked him if he was sure. Everything had gone so horribly last time. She assured him he'd earned a longer respite.
He told her he was sure. He needed to get it right, to make up for the horrors of the last time that were of his own making. He needed to do this to reach his final rest.
She smiled down on him then, and lay her blessings upon him, and he began to go.
His mother grit her teeth, grunting, and the midwife looked up at her from the end of the exam table.