Birth - Camilla Basham

Sometimes the very last row of pecan trees was a unbroken violet blue wall just a tad darker than the heavens but this afternoon it was almost indigo and behind that great never ending sky was a bruised dazzling white.

Peaches Delaney was leaning against the red of the house, her arms folded, resting on a cliff of belly, her legs crossed at the calf and her left toe spading the ground. She was a robust woman with a tiny barbed wire face and perpetual ferreting blue eyes.

Cherry was just the opposite. Small and slender body with a large round moon face and brown eyes that always seemed widened behind her coke bottle glasses as if in a state of constant shock. She was bent over pulling up weeds out of the bed of marigolds around the house. The two cousins wore large floppy sun hats that were once identical but Peaches’ had since turned a dull washed out shade of pale, bent and hanging low like the moss on an oak tree. Cherry’s hat was just as stiff as a good whiskey and vivid green.

“You hear about that young girl from Bogalusa that birthed that dead baby then up and died herself the very next minute?” Peaches asked.

“I read about her in the Herald.” Cherry answered looking up with a surprised expression, though not really surprised at all. “What of it?”

“She was a Roberts, married a Delaney, so she’s kin to us; something like a sixth or seventh cousin by marriage.”

“Is that so?” Cherry tossed a giant chunk of dandelion weeds and onion grass as if they were the devil itself come to wipe out the good earth and she the saint who would never allow such a fate.

“Seeing as how she was kin to us, we seen the body.” Peaches dug her toe deeper in the dirt, “We seen the sick baby, too. Tragic.”

Cherry remained quite, focusing now on exorcising the crabgrass. She was use to such catastrophic tales of tragedy from Peaches. They exhausted her. It was a well known fact in town that Peaches would don her best Sunday dress and drive a good forty miles for the sheer morbid gratification of seeing a body laid to rest.