“Our little boy,” he said proudly. I smiled at him, then at the child I’d just given birth to.
“Our little sunshine,” I replied. The baby was screaming and wailing. His father laughed.
“A good set of lungs too!” He took the baby and cradled him in his arms. “Such a beautiful child.” He looked at me and smiled. “Just as beautiful as his mother.” I blushed.
“What shall we name him?” I asked. “I thought Apollo was a good name.”
“I love it. Our little sun god.”
I thought back on this day as I headed for the children’s shelter. Little Apollo was in my arms, sleeping calmly. Only a year old, and his father is dead. I couldn’t look after him myself; it was too much for me to bear. I’d never wanted this to happen. Father said I could come home, only if I gave the baby away.
“Oh, my sweet little sun god…” I whispered. “You’ll be safer here than you would be with me.” Tears were rolling down my cheeks. I didn’t want to leave him behind, but I had to.
The shelter was only a few feet away. I stopped dead in my tracks. He was so small, so fragile. I didn’t want him in the care of another person who wouldn’t treat him well. No Thalassa, he’ll be all right, I thought to myself. I looked at him again. I hummed a song, one that always made him happy. I swore I saw a hint of a smile on his sleeping face.
As I walked those last few feet, I thought about what I could give to him to remember me by. A bracelet was the only thing I could think of. It just so happened, I had one around each wrist. I took one of them off and slipped it around Apollo’s arm. “You have the Gramarye eyes; this will help you, my love.”
I sat the baby down on the front stoop of the shelter, knocked on the door and ran away. An older woman stepped out and looked at my son. She looked around the street, not seeing me from my hiding spot. She shrugged, and then picked up the bundle. There was a note in the blanket that would tell her his name. He’s in better hands now, I reminded myself. I took a few steps away, turned back to the shelter, and then started walking again.
My heart was heavy with regret. A baby doesn’t deserve this. Not knowing who brought him in to this world. The tears were coming again. “A girl of nineteen should not have a child with her,” father had said. I foolishly agreed with him. I’ve protected myself from poverty and from destroying my baby’s future, I thought bitterly. It seemed more like a lie now than it had the day before.
When I returned to my father’s house, he was there, sitting at the table. “I’m…sorry, Thalassa,” he said gently. I did not answer him; I just went to my bedroom. A fresh batch of tears was coming. I cried all night long, feeling terrible for what I’d done to my beloved son.