I know it’s time to write you again because I’ve been having dreams about you. I dream of sitting in the hospital room and talking to you. I’m sitting by the window and you are propped up on the bed. The light is grey — either pre-dawn or a winter afternoon. The air and the dream itself feels heavy — my body strains under it, tries to stay whole. In the dream I try and convince you to write to us, to talk to us — even just a little. I try and tell you that Zoey will have questions. What’s your favorite color? Who’s your favorite princess? Do you like peas?
I have no right to ask you for more, more than you have already given. But I do it anyway. I ask you for a picture. I imagine Zoey staring at the picture and seeing parts of herself in a way that she will never see in me — her eyes, the curve of her chin, the way you hold your hands. In the dream you talk to me like a friend — smiling, laughing too loud until you cry, some silences.
In real life, I only had 12 minutes with you. You stayed closed off and I wondered if you liked me, if you trusted me. Your emptiness filled up the room, quietly sneaking into to all the corners, pressing against the glass of the windows, and seeping out under the crack in the door. But your face stayed careful — careful not to give anything away. I tried to remember everything to tell Zoey later: the red jello on your hospital tray was untouched, your ankles were crossed under the thin blanket on the bed, you had on a black track jacket with yellow stripes down the sides. Your voice was gentle. Your were surprised when I asked if I could give you a hug.
I did not ever see you cry. But I cried. After they wheeled you away. Your cut medical bracelet was left on the table. We were given new plastic bracelets to match Zoey. ‘Baby Girl’ on all 3 of our wrists. But no longer on yours. I went into a back room with broken down medical equipment and crooked blinds and cried. And cried.
Do you read the letters I send? Do you look at the pictures? Do you think we are doing a good job? Do you like princesses? Do you like peas? Do you?
Write back. Please write back.