Profile of a girl
Staring at them brought back a flood of memories initially, but the longer I looked the harder it became to find in them the girl I know today – the one who talks non-stop to her kitten, plays elaborate role-play games with her sister and only slows down to eat and sleep.
The not-so-long ago face in those pictures seemed unfamiliar – as if the baby in them was one I only knew casually, which struck fear deep into my heart. If I was having trouble remembering the baby she was now, what will it be like when she’s 10, or 16, or 25? I switched off the computer and went to bed, feeling unsettled and restless.
This morning I woke early to get ready for work. As I dried my hair in the bathroom, Peanut pushed the door open.
“Well good morning,” I said to her, leaning over to place a kiss on her forehead. “Come on in.”
A sleepy haze still surrounded her and without a word she zombie walked over to thick bathmat and lay down. She covered herself with her blanket and stared off into space.
When I finished, I knelt down beside her. She was lying on her side. I sat above her studying her profile and there I saw it – the baby girl I remembered. She was there after all – in the soft curve of her forehead, the gentle protrusion of her nose, the bud of her lips and the roundness of her chin. It was a profile I remembered intimately from my days of nursing her.
I’d spent many hours staring down at her – in the beginning days obsessing about whether or not she was getting enough to eat and then later just enjoying her, loving the way she’d gaze up at me with a satisfied, languid look about her.
I moved my face just inches from hers and ran my index finger along her profile, studying it, tracing it into my memory. Making sure I won’t ever forget.