She looked around and saw once more all the swollen bellies of the women who walked by, making her absentmindedly touch her now flat one. Every year she noticed, every year she mourned.
He had been her everything; he had been hers. And his father was her rock. Even so he had been gone most times, they had grown close, father and son. She supposed it was because they were both kids - one in reality, the other in heart.
She stayed on the bench, not wanting to associate with those who now had joy in giving life; hoping they never had to see it taken away.
It had been another year, another birthday, another visit, another Mother's Day. A long cycle she wanted to stop, but either out of fear or obligation, she could not do it. She would not do it. Not when her own heart was ripped away in every thought picture and drawing.
She was determined to keep him alive - as alive as her heart could make him. Oh, but that day when she thought she saw him! Her heart leapt, only to find out it was not true, only to find out that her than husband (in name only) really did.
Wiping the tears away, she tried to read the words on the scrap of paper one of the SF's had given her.
"Park, 2. Love you."
Simple. Precise, and what she needed to hear.
The hand on her shoulder made her start and breath inwardly. Getting up and spinning around, her gaze met his. Kindness, sadness, weariness and love shone from them.
"Hey," he said weakly.
"Hey," she replied.
"So... care for a walk?"
She looked at him for a moment, so like her son, so like the man she had married long ago. And he was all of those she reminded herself. He would always be the father who lost a son, a husband who felt he had failed.
She simply nodded. He held out his arm and she took it, wrapping her thin body into his still muscular one. She patted his arm playfully and he looked down at her and grinned. Flexing she laughed.
"Here is something I have been meaning to give you a long time," he said, pulling a well warn card from his pocket. "This should have been yours years ago, but," he looked away shyly, "I needed it more at the time."
She took the card and read it. Smiling she opened the card to see the joke continued. Instead, all she focused on was the sprawling handwriting of a child's. Tears flowed and she quickly turned into the hug he provided.
A simple line and her Mother's Day was beginning to look doable.
"Happy Mom's Day, Mommy! I love you - Charlie."