Stirring as I hear a baby cry I carefully crawl out from under the blanket, begin making my way to the babies room still half asleep when I reach the path with the dust covering my feet I am shaken’ to a full awareness of my surroundings. I stand in the mist of the night looking up the path that leads to our home then back to Malion. I know in my heart something is wrong and that I must go home still I can't leave without letting him know.
As I look over to him sleeping sounded I think to myself what if it's just I am missing them what if it's nothing, still the tugging is there I know I must go. I scan the area looking for something, anything in order to let him know where I have gone so he don't awaken to no wife beside him with him thinking that maybe a bear or cougar has dragged me off. As I making my way back to Malion when I come upon a huge banana leaf I bend down picking it "think babe think" I could cut it into letters no that will take to long then I see a stick part way out of the fire with the end charred taking the stick I write a note upon the banana leaf "Baby, I have gone to the house in my heart I know something is wrong, if I am not back by first light I will send Thomas to come get you. If you wake before this come home. I love you! Your loving wife, Babe" I place the banana leaf note where I had been laying as the wind whips up I look around for something to secure the not in place. My eyes catch a few stones a couple of steps away I go gather them placing them upon the note then gently kiss Malion on the forehead and dash off toward home.
My feet hit the ground fast as I scramble up the dimly lit path as I round the bend in the path I run directly into Thomas. "Thomas what is it?" he is winded, manages to utter "Jhavanna" I push past Thomas not waiting for another word as tears flow from my eyes, my heart bounding so hard feels like it is going to beat out of my chest.
I reach the back porch I leap over the steps landing on the porch almost sliding into the screen door. I reach out taking a firm hold on the door swinging it wide open almost ripping it off it hinges . I can hear Jhavanna crying as my body enters the house her cries are weak. Time seems to slow as I make my way down the hall passing Jarrod room my feet slide as I attempt to stop to check in on him finding him soundly sleeping. Dash out of his room back into the hall into Beth's room.
Reaching her crib I bend over touching her feel that she is burning up I snatch her out of her crib as I yell to Thomas. “Thomas take the tub on the back porch to the cellar by the big Burch tree fill it up with ice bring it to me quickly.” I take baby Beth into the storage room with me holding her close to my chest as she cries and I try to hold it together. I gather up several of her pj's then move to the living rooms stripping her of her clothing.
Lem peeks his head around the corner "mommy what's wrong" “Beth is sick, please Lem go the pantry get me the thermometer." Lem dashes off returning quickly with the thermometer I take it making sure it is well lubricated then insert it in Beth's bottom. Lemuel says: “I didn’t mean to fall to sleep when I was suppose to watch the babies when Thomas left me in charge.” “Oh baby, this isn’t your fault Beth is sick has nothing to due with you falling to sleep. Thomas knew she was ill. left you in charge so he could come get me”, I reply.
Tap my foot as I wait the time in order to read with Lemuel standing near I see his face embedded with worry. “Come Lem sit by me“, I pull the thermometer out my mouth drops open as I see her temperature. I quickly put a clean diaper on her and fresh pj's covering her hands and feet as I watch for Thomas to return.
Thomas returns with the tub full of ice, I then instruct him to get me some clothe and a pitcher to put some of the ice in to place by the fire in order to melt some of it but not all want it still cold. Thomas does as instructed, when it dawns on me and I bellow out “where is Ana? She is suppose to be carrying for the children“ Thomas replies "she went to town to get medicine, left me in charge.” I reply; “We have medicine go to the pantry on the top shelf labeled (children) bring that to me”.
I tenderly lower Beth into the ice as her crying shallows, speaking softly : "it's alright baby girl mommies here everything is going to be alright." In my heart I don't know if this is so when Beth becomes silent I watch her chest and tummy making sure she is breathing then I lose it "Please God don't take my little girl, please!" Minutes seems like hours, hours seem like days. Lemuel stands looking into the tub watching intensely“mommy, mommy she Bethie going to be okay?”
Wanting to scream I don’t know, I don’t instead answer: “yeah she is going to be just fine”.
Thomas returns with the medicine and pitcher of half melted ice. I pick up one of the clothes dip into the cold ice as I open Beth's pj's and begin wiping her down tenderly still watching her closely. Thomas ask "what you want me to do with this" meaning the medicine." I say; Open it, take a half vial place it between her lips and let it seep in slowly.
Lem ask: “Mommy can I help?” “Yes you may, take these extra clothes place them into the pitcher so that I can keep switching them.”, I reply. Lemuel small hands gather up the extra clothes carefully places them into the pitcher of ice water as he looks over to Beth seeming to watch her as closely as I do. His legs begin to wobble, I smile warmly to him saying “sit here baby, you have done a fine job.”
Time seems to stand still, my heart leaps as Beth whimpering touch my ears while she lays in the ice tub and I continue to wash her tenderly with the cold ice water trying to bring down her temperature. Lemuel moves closer “mommy is, is Beth? His head lowers with tears flooding his eyes. “No baby she isn’t, she’s going to be fine.” Mumble softly to myself (I hope) After about half an hour I remove her from the ice tub bringing her trembling frail body to my lap checking her careful making sure she doesn't have frost bite then retake her temperature.
As I wait I look around the room then send Thomas in to check on baby J to make sure he is still sleeping and has not begun to run a temperature too. Thomas returns with a wide smile plastered upon his face "he is sound a sleep, no temp" I sigh out “Thank Heaven” in relief that he isn't sick too. I remove the thermometer reading it seeing that her temperature has dropped a great deal. Know that she not yet out of danger as her temperature is still high.
I bring my baby girl to my chest as I lean back in the chair caressing her soft light hair as she has settled sleeping soundly. As silence fills the house Lemuel eyes widen “mommy, Bethie…. is she……… dead?” My heart races as I hear his words “No baby, she is sleeping.” I open her pajamas caressing her little body with the ice clothes hoping to bring down her temperature more. Lemuel looks up to me with his eyes full of sadness “come sit on mommies lap, everything is going to be alright” I wrap my arm lovingly around him as he lays his weary head upon the side of my breast and I lean down kissing the top of his head.
As the morning sun is begins to rise over the hill I utter: "Thomas!, Malion! he is down by the creek" Thomas replies: "yes ma'am" and dashes out of the house. I am not sure that Malion will have his wits about him to notice the note and that he might run around the area looking for me.
My eyelids are heavy but I know I can not rest till my baby is completely out of danger. I watch Lemuel eyes close and he snuggles closer to me with his hand draped over Beth. I smile tenderly to him as I continue to wash Jhavanna with the cold ice clothe.
As he drifts to sleep I hear him praying “ dear God please don’t take my baby sister I love her so much, would miss her.” My heart sinks and swells at the same time hearing his precious words knowing I am praying the same for god to save my dear child.