KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 12: Summer 2019
CNF/Haibun: 338 words


by Robin Anna Smith

I bring her lunch, set it on the bedside table, and start propping her up with pillows. After situating a tray in her lap, I balance a bowl of soup in the middle. Sitting down at the end of her bed, I begin rubbing her feet. She tests the soup and declares it too hot, so we make small talk while it cools.

I ask if she’s thought about what she’d like for Christmas. She looks at me and shrugs.

“Socks?” She takes a gulp of water from a bottle. “The fuzzy kind.”

“Okay,” I say. “Anything else?”

“Maybe one of those long, fluffy robes. You know, the kind that’s like a coat you wear in the house.”

I get out my phone and start a list. As I continue to probe her for more ideas, they all have a common theme: cozy items to warm her body while she lies in bed. Leg warmers, arm warmers, a thick blanket, a chenille sweater—none of which will leave her room, except for the occasional trip to one of her medical specialists.

Smiling, I tell her I think we can find some things to keep her comfortable. I ask if she needs anything else. She shakes her head and forces a smile.

“Okay, just call or text me if you need anything.” I get up, hug her, walk to the door and close it behind me.

Finally out of her eyesight, I lean against the wall and burst into tears, realizing I have no idea what a healthy twelve-year-old should be requesting for Christmas. I wish she were asking for toys and games—even something stupid or too expensive.

But all of the puzzles and games I thought she’d have fun with in years past have sat and gathered dust, the packages still sealed. Every time I come across one while cleaning or putting things away, I think perhaps I should donate it, but I can’t let go.

spring snow...
hidden from the sun
a young sprout withers



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