Sara placed her ear on her mama’s chest and listened to the rattle rattle that lived inside her.
“Mama, you’re rattlin’ again.” She giggled as she listened.
Her mama gave a great wracking cough that vibrated her whole head. It silenced the rattle so all she heard was her mama’s faint heartbeat. Sara heard the flutter of the hankie, felt it brush her face, and knew mama wiped the red liquid from her lips.
“The sound won’t be around for much longer,” came her mama’s low whisper.
Sara scrunched up her little face. Not around much longer? It had been around for a whole month so far. Getting louder and louder anytime her mama breathed.
“Where’s it gonna go, mama?”
Raising her head, Sara looked at her face. It was thin, thinner now than when mama had lost her baby brother a month ago. Her gray eyes only had the slightest sparkle to them. Her mama’s smile was still there, if only briefly.
“Just away, Sara Jean. Everything goes away in time.” She heaved a deep sigh as she said it, gathering Sara’s hands up and gripping them tight.
“Like my boo boo did?” She paused and thought hard. “Like baby brother did?”
Her mama’s eyes grew sad and a pressure settled in Sara’s chest. She woulda rubbed it, but didn’t want to let mama go.
“Yea, just like that.” Her mama gave another hard squeeze before resting back on the bed. “Rest here a while with me until your daddy gets home, I want to hold my baby for a bit.”
Sara was too big to be cradled like a baby, but she nodded slowly. After a minute, she lay her small head down on her mama’s chest. She listened to the rattle and let herself be held.