She had just gotten married and she showed up one day cradling something in her arms. She wasn’t handling it all very well, but at times she clutched it up close to her like she was a child. She was changed. She was always a different sort of girl, kind of odd, but friendly. She became Mormon, she came out of her shell for awhile. Thought life was improving.
She got married. Not the best decision for her age, but no devastatingly horrid harm done. Then she showed up and she was horrid. Quiet, psychologically damaged. Holding on to this thing. Taking it away might tear the life out of her. I nudged her around a little, tried to get her to talk, but she smiled shyly and kept bending her neck away from me, back hunched, but always stupidly smiling. She was a child now.
The thing she was holding was a baby in a basket. I asked her, darling, where did the baby come from, and she turned away from me again and wouldn’t answer me but she still smiled blankly and I had the feeling she was gone behind her eyes and nothing changed for the better, really.