Jen woke to Kayla crying. George was still snoring away. Jen forced herself out of bed and stumbled down the hallway, drunk on sleep.
Jen arrived in the nursery as her daughter’s cries grew louder. “Shh, I’m here!” She ran to where the 6-month-old was screaming in the crib. Kayla’s face was covered in sweat and tears, but she smiled when she saw Mama.
“What’s wrong, sweetheart? Bad dream?”
Kayla cooed, reaching out. Jen picked her up, wrapping her in blankets. They sat in the rocking chair, Jen humming softly. Motherhood wasn’t easy, but Jen never tired of the smiles and babbles that lit up her world. Jen had never loved or needed anyone this much. She hugged Kayla closer, dozing off.
George startled awake to a cold bed. His heart pounded, knowing that it still wasn’t safe for Jen to be alone. His mind raced with scenarios as he searched for her. He found her sitting in the nursery, fast asleep, clutching a pile of blankets. Kayla’s blankets. Jen was smiling for the first time in months. George’s heart broke as he covered his wife’s emaciated limbs with the blankets and gave her a soft, tearful kiss.