The chair creaked as it rocked back and forth. It seemed loud to him, but at one o’clock in the morning when the rest of the world was asleep, sound seemed to be magnified. The baby was still asleep. He thought that perhaps instead of disturbing her, the creaking of the rocking chair mingled with the sound of his heartbeat and helped to maintain a comforting rhythm to help Jenny sleep. The moon was high and full tonight and illuminated the areas he could see beyond their fourth floor balcony. No traffic passed along the side street between their apartment building and the buttressed walls of Saint Anthony’s Church. He wondered in the near silence if any experience inside that distant church building was a profound as this moment as he rocked with his daughter asleep on his shoulder.
Marsha lay asleep in their bed a few feet away. He thought often about their first meeting and how he had noticed her from a distance a long time before. Although she was truly beautiful, it was her smile that captivated him. They conceived a child in love and married young. He feared at first that he would lose his identity in an amalgam that would render them both indistinct, but he learned to trust the feeling between them and give it time, space and encouragement to take them where it will. He marveled at the sacrifices she made every day, her determination to face and embrace the uncertainties of motherhood, and most of all the way she shone when she played with Jenny. No, this woman would never be indistinct and neither would he.
He realized while he was lost in thought that he had lost all feeling in one arm. He rose quietly from the chair, laid Jenny down in the crib, and covered her in her now favorite blanket. He paused to gaze at the church again and smiled. He half turned to look at his wife and daughter, each asleep in their bed and he knew love beyond the measure of his years. He was grateful for the darkness that hid the tear he wiped from his face and thought to himself that no collection of stone and glass, no matter how well crafted, could engender a greater joy than this. In time, he closed the curtain and returned quietly to bed.
KEVIN DEENY – A lifelong resident of Levittown, PA