CREDOS : In bloom — II

Where is the little darling?” she asked. “I’m dying to meet her, dear.” I led the way to the sky-blue door at the end of the narrow hall. We both looked in, barely breathing. The curtains in the little room were open. Low square windows framed a dripping wisteria vine in full flower. My daughter lay fast asleep in her grandfather’s wicker baby basket. She was loosely swaddled in a cotton blanket. From the walls around her, pale pink and blue sheep grazed peacefully in her newborn baby landscape. I looked at Judy. She was gazing at my child.

At first, she said nothing. Then she whispered, “Alisaundre. Alisaundre.” She leaned over the wicker basket, ran her knotted brown hand lightly across Alisaundre’s pale, sleeping cheek. Judy’s bright eyes shone at the sight of a smudge of black hair splayed out on the white sheet like a charcoal drawing.

“I’ve brought flowers for you, Alisaundre,” Judy said. She glanced briefly in my direction before she continued. “Your mother has them, dear, in that plastic bag she’s holding. But these flowers are the kind that will last forever.” I opened the bag and peered into it. I looked up, confused. Judy straightened herself and began to explain.

“I’ve made her a blanket. I used the wool from my sheep. I searched until I found a variety of plants and organic materials to create the brightest dyes. Then I matched the first letters of the natural colours with the letters in Alisaundre’s name.” —