Lily-Rose’s mother shook her gently. It was Sunday morning, time for church. The child had been awake most of the night, first for inspection, then on detention, when her father came home late from a night of drinking and needing to feel something, preferably power.
Her mother went to the closet and dresser and chose a pretty yellow and blue floral dress, and some white leotards, fitting for a little girl to wear to church on a Sunday.
But Lily-Rose wasn’t waking up. Her mother pushed her daughter’s damp, tangled hair away from her forehead. The child was frowning in her sleep.
Lily-Rose’s mother felt a drop in her chest, a drop in her life’s breath, like free-falling from the top of a tall building. My child, she thought, my beautiful Lily-Rose.
“Wake up, darling,” she whispered in Lily-Rose’s ear. “Wake up, we’ll go to church, and everything will be better.”
Her mother didn’t mean to, but her mother told a lie.