He stands at the door, watching her. She is busy with something, holding the receiver to her ear and writing with her other hand. He is silent.

She looks up and smiles, then goes back to whatever she's doing again.

He doesn't know what, but he senses it's important.

At least it's more important than he is.

The hand that clutches the one-eared rabbit that has been his constant companion ever since infancy drops limply to his side.

His legs are getting tired.

He doesn't know how long he has been waiting, but he is tired too.

All he wants is a longer minute when she would come to him, pick him up, and play with him for a long eternity of short time.

She smiles weakly when he comes, as though tired of life.

Never enough time for him.

Never enough energy for a dazzling thousand-watt smile.

He crumbles to the ground, his little legs too weak to carry him any longer.

He stares, deploring. Begging her to come and smile and love him.

She smiles widely for the person on the phone, but not for him.

She spends her time for the people for her, but not for him.

She has nothing to give him, and he nothing to give her.

He knows nothing of the world and why mommies leave their children alone.

He is lonely, and he wants her to come make him happy in this lonely unhappy world.

She leaves him with his grandmother, a kindly old woman who cares for him. But the grandmother is strict at times, and she does not spare his bottom when he is bad.

He stares at the other children downstairs at the playground, playing with their maids and their mothers, laughing in joy.

He cannot.

He merely stares and gazes and observes.

He kicks the door.

She does not respond.

Inside, his heart is bleeding.

Mommy, why don't you love me? He screams inside.

But she does not hear him, nor soothe his aching eyes with a hug and love.

Slowly he gets up, and leaves.

He will not be alone.

But not with her.

She doesn't love him.

So he won't love her too.

© Dauphin 2003, All Rights Reserved