Little love

by Mary Moore

How many years have I dreamt of this moment? Not a day has passed when I haven’t thought of you, my darling child, MY wee child. Not a single day. Your letter, still unopened, arrived last week. I have not yet summoned up the courage to read it. I confess, I am a coward. I never told my husband and my other children. Yes, you have a brother and a sister, younger of course, twins.  All those years, you have been my cherished secret.

My sleep is still haunted by my longing for you. My arms ached to hold you and my body hurt with yearning for you after they took you from me.  Every detail of our few treasured moments together is as clear to me now as it was 37 years ago. It was Father Connelly who told me it was all for the best, that this way your soul would be saved, even if mine was lost.   I was not much more than a child myself. I am not making excuses. I am sorry for not being stronger.   

Astoreen was the name I gave you and I sealed it away in my heart, oh Little Love. Now I sit here with your letter in my trembling hands. I look again at the envelope, containing your words, how precious it is. I have examined your handwriting over the last few days, searching for clues to you - a neat hand, ink pen – educated, meticulous perhaps? I savour it, inhaling the smell of the paper. It occurs to me your hands and mine have held this letter. I am almost touching you. My finger traces my maiden name, Anne Fitzpatrick. Truly, I expect nothing from you, yet, I am terrified your words will reject me.