Universal Love

“I’m sorry, ma’am,”  the woman behind the counter told me, “we just sold our last batch of love.”

“Are you kidding?” I asked, trying to keep the panic from spilling into my words.

“No,” the woman replied.

I could tell she was genuinely sorry as her eyes darted to the little boy whose hand was held tightly in mine. I didn’t even have time to brush his hair before we left the house, or even get him out of his pajamas.

I realized I had run out of love a little too late. I’m usually so good at these things but the weeks just got away from me and I never sent in my order for new love.

Before I knew it, Sunday rolled around and I found myself dishing out my last batch of love with breakfast. At least I added some strawberries to make it last throughout the morning.

“What am I going to do now?” I asked, not bothering to hide my desperation.

The kids would last for a few more hours, but I couldn’t really count on much more than that. I didn’t want to think about what would happen when the love wore off.

They would probably feel a tiny little pinch and then they’d look up as if they had just woken from a dream.

“I don’t feel so well,” one would say and the other would second the sentiment. The baby, that perfect little bundle of dimples, would start to cry.

Just like that, the air would feel thick and heavy, wrapping around us like a cloak of sadness. The room would suddenly show its seedy underside, all that dirt that never washes off, the marks from dirty sticky fingers; the floor beneath our feet would like gravel and the walls surrounding us like stone.

No doubt, the sky outside the window would gather clouds of gray, pulling them directly over our house in a blanket of darkness and smothering the hint of spring that had given us our first small token of color.

Most devastating of all, their tiny little hearts would begin a slow demise; each individual melody of life gradually being suffocated by the lack of sustenance… until first one would fall, then another and another.

Finally, my heart would break into a million shards of pain, extinguished by an unfathomable grief.

“You know,” the woman said, “a new store just opened up across the street. ‘Universal Love’ I think it’s called. I heard they have quite a stock.” She paused, giving me a gentle smile. “I’m sure you’ll find what you’re looking for there.”

“Thank you,” I whispered as we turned to walk away.

All content is copyrighted by Karla Valenti. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is expressly forbidden.


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