Why I didn’t think that joke was funny at all.

I got dressed quickly when I found out we were going,  throwing on a skirt and my new wrap, a piece of brightly patterned material over it to keep the wind from tearing up my skirt.

We pulled up outside of the ramshackle hospital and jumped out of the car. A nurse led us to the ward where she was lying, barely moving under the gaily patterned pink sheet. We joined the family around her who stood silently, taking turns holding her hand. Slowly, tears began leaking from our eyes as the reality set in. The little one had not survived.

A nurse came in to check the incision, a long mark across her stomach held together by tiny pieces of thread. Her two living children glared as we patted their backs, tears filling their eyes.

After a while, we returned to the van with most of her family. Her mother carried the small figure in her arms, covered by her shawl. We rode silently home, our faces cold and set.

When we reached her village, her husband began digging in the yard. Her mother carried the baby over to the hole.

“We need something to wrap the baby in. We need something nice.”

Without even thinking, my hands were at my waist, untying the wrap and handing it to the grandmother. The tiny little one was wrapped in it and placed in the ground, quickly covered.

We sat for a long time, weeping silently by the small mound of earth. When the sky began to dim, I walked home, my skirt rippling in the wind, flapping and tearing at my legs.


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