Quiet secrecy shrouded the halls of Captain Chamberlain’s manor. Laurence, his ten-year-old son, stood tipi-toed against his mother’s bed chamber door, he bent his ear to listen inside, soft muttering and fretted weeping were all Laurence heard. Slowly, without expecting it, the bed chamber door squeaked open. Laurence stared up at his father, the Captain, who was a cold, rigid man, frowned down on his young son. Titling his head back, Laurence gave his father a long, helpless stare. The captain towered over his woeful son, his intention was to intimidate, he stood tall inside the door frame, his hair was in the process of graying, he left it greased back from his brow to conceal his receding hairline. Without speaking a word to his son, the Captain allowed the door to fall open.
“Is that my Laurence?” He heard his mother’s sweet voice beckoning. From the doorway, Laurence’s pale green eyes were locked his on his mother, her once buoyant, dark locks now laid flat and lifeless on her shoulders, her brilliant, brown eyes now wore dark circles beneath them, her complexion turned from olive to pallid, her body and face grew more emaciated for each day of her illness.
His mother sat up in bed and extended her arms out to him. “Come closer, to me Laurence, I can barely see that handsome face of yours from so far away. Please, come nearer to your Mama!” His mother did her best to hold in the tears, looking on her son tore at her heart, since being struck ill, Hadday was never certain if she would see or hold her son again.
Laurence flew passed his father and jumped into his mother’s arms. “Laurence, be careful, your mother is ill!” His father lashed out. Hadday’s physician and house nurses shrank back at the Captain’s outburst. “Joseph, please, he’s just a boy. . . .” Hadday looked down at her son and smiled. “You just missed me, didn’t you?” Laurence exchanged her smile with a warm grin of his own then giggled. “Mama, will we go playing in the garden again soon?” He begged with innocent, green eyes. “Soon, my Laurence, I promise.” Hadday became overwhelmed with emotion just by looking on her son’s face, she fought the tears hard, but was instead swept into a coughing spell. Not wishing to put her son at risk, Hadday shooed Laurence away with her hand. “Mama, what’s wrong?” Laurence cried. “Take him away from here!” Hadday cried. The Captain tore his son from his mother’s arms. He swooped Laurence up into his arms and roughly placed him down near the door. “Out, Laurence, go and play!” His father ordered sternly. Hadday’s coughing spell turned violent, she began vomiting blood, the house nurse and her assistants accompanied the physician, eventually they all surrounded Hadday, trying to aid her in all ways feasible. “Mama!” Laurence cried out from the top of his voice. The Captain could certainly recognize his son’s pitiful shrieks and turned from his wife’s side. His father came pounding toward him with angry strides. “What did I say, Laurence?” The Captain picked Laurence up by both arms and dragged him kicking and screaming to the hall, in protest, Laurence scraped his feet along the floorboards. “I instructed you to stay out here!” His father roared. With that said, the Captain swung the door closed on his son.
Laurence waited for his father and his mother’s attendants to leave her bed chamber before visiting her. Softly he pushed open the door, inside he found his mother lying in her bed, the blankets crumpled up at the bottom. Not noticing the blood splattered sheets surrounding his mother’s body, Laurence climbed into bed beside her, gently he took his mother’s arm and wrapped it around himself. He snuggled his body against his mother’s cold, motionless form, comforted by his Mother’s touch, Laurence drifted off to sleep.
Sloshing through the muddy, rain soaked ground were Laurence and his father leading the procession of mourners. Father and son followed behind the pallbearers as they drudged their way to the grave site. Through heavy raindrops, Laurence gazed up at the black, oblong box in front of him, Laurence knew his mother was inside, but his father neglected to explain why, Laurence did not understand his father’s silence. On the hour of his wife’s death, the Captain vowed never to speak of her again. Lost in the crowd of mourners, Laurence did not comprehend what was going on, but somehow within himself, knew he would not see his mother again.