Peachy Almond for the Antichrist
Lisa walked into our tot music class with a smile, a bottle of Naked Peachy Almond, and a little blonde trailing behind her. I took notice of her disheveled hair, worn shoes, and tattered leggings. They seemed out of sync with her health drink and desire to give her daughter the best musical start our small Midwestern community had to offer. I smiled politely and went back to playing with Ophelia and Oliver. Our infant twins kept me busy until our older children came home from elementary school. Once all four children were home, I was beyond busy which meant music class was one of the most relaxing points in my schedule. Ronnie, my husband, traveled for work so it was just me during the week. Lisa sat down not far from us.
“Hi, I’m Phoebe and this is little Olivia and this handsome young man is Oliver.” I said with a welcoming smile.
“Hi” was all she could say as she looked at her worn toed shoes.
“And who do we have here?” I asked while motioning to the quiet little girl who was obviously just as uncomfortable as her mother.
“Julia. She’s three. I’m Lisa.” Was all she could say.
(I was thinking "HELLO...flippin look at me!!" but I managed to act like an adult.)
“Well, it’s nice to meet you both. Oh Julia, please be careful with Oliver. He’s only 6 months old so we have to be very gentle.” I reminded her calmly. She hadn’t really been hurting him. She seemed to be wanting him to play, but he was about to topple over as she pushed the plush bear into his face. I looked apologetically at Lisa. I hoped I hadn’t offended her by giving her child some guidance.
“She had a brother that age. He died. That’s why she wants to play with him.” Lisa said very matter of factly as she took a swig of her Peachy Almond.
“I’m so sorry.” Was all I could squeak as the air escaped my body.
“It’s okay.” Said Lisa as she and Julia walked away to play in a different area of the classroom.
It wasn’t okay. I wasn’t okay.
I wanted to jump up, scoop up my babies, and run home as fast as possible. I endured music class but couldn’t find my happy. I watched Lisa and Julia and instead of feeling sympathetic toward a mother who had lost a son and a girl who lost a brother I felt cold. Any joy contained in the air was being sucked away and converted into something dark. We left at the end of class and instead of stopping for our usual coffees and ice-cream cones; we went straight home for a nap. A very restless nap for all involved.
The following morning, my dear friend Lillie stopped in for pastries and coffee. She innocently asked if I was feeling alright. She mentioned I didn’t look quite right. I explained I just couldn’t shake the feeling of darkness and gloom. I replayed the encounter with Lisa and Julia and told Lillie how terrible I felt because my emotions seemed completely out of whack.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me. It’s not very Christian of me…shouldn’t I have offered her a hug or some words of comfort?” I asked my friend.
Lillie offered some wise advice “maybe next time, but don’t beat yourself up. You can’t change what happened yesterday.”
Lillie was right. I agreed and we changed the subject. Unfortunately it wasn’t that easy to change the doom and gloom that seemed to have made its way into my thoughts.
The clock read 3:28am. I looked around the room. The twins were sleeping quietly, the dogs were snoring away in their beds, and my handsome husband was beside me with his hand on my thigh.
I wasn’t sure why I was awake, but I grabbed my tablet and did a google search: Lisa Julia Baby Obituary
The results of the search brought me to the obituary which lead me to an article I read several times the year before.
The headline read: ‘Man, woman sentenced for infant's death’
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