“A Mile from Land”
By. Lee McQuinn
(note: all names, locations, and identifying information has been changed to preserve privacy and respect.)
6 March 2017 – Timeline: 1985
It was weeks before I really had any clue as to what was going on around me. It was even longer before I realized that the crying infant was my own child. By then, a cousin who had given birth at virtually the same time, had taken my son into her care.
During this time, I learned that I had suffered a skull fracture and a rather severe concussion. The doctors explained that in time my memories might come back; and to be prepared. Memories which evoked strong emotions would be the first to emerge. Recovery was going to take time, but I was still young and the brain is a remarkable organ.
When they finally introduced me to my son, he was a month old. His hair was blond; his eyes blue, just like his father. They put him in my arms, and I discovered just how strong his little lungs were. They told me he was mine. I didn’t believe them. I just frowned at them and handed him back. I wasn’t a mother. How could I be? I was only fifteen. Fifteen-year-olds didn’t have babies. No, I wasn’t his mother. I didn’t know who was; didn’t even really care.
What I did care about was the man that kept drifting through my dreams. Ian, the dream-man was called. Who was Ian? I asked, but no one knew. Or, if they did, they weren’t telling me.
At night, I woke up screaming Ian’s name. For some reason unknown to me, I thought I knew a man by that name. Ian. Ian MacDonald.
Then, another nightmare… Images of blood on his face merging with another man’s whose face was only half there. Blood… so much blood. His. His. Mine. There was so much of it.
I woke, still seeing it. I still smelled its iron-rich sweetness. Tears flowed fresh and hot on my cheeks… that, too, reminded me of all the blood.