Creative Writing Awards 2023 Winner: “EDD: 12/25” by Kailu Shannon-Frolich
The 20th Annual Creative Writing Awards (CWA) were held at the New Haven Lawn Club on April 20, a celebration of the liberal arts deeply embedded in the science and clinical practice of the Yale School of Nursing (YSN) community. After a keynote speech by Tanzanian businessman, author, and philanthropist Michael Shirima, each of the three student winners read their piece aloud.
“How much for this one?” She asked, caressing its faded, gold and white chips of paint.
“That old thing? Consider it a gift,” the elderly gentleman offered.
She had never been one for Christmas traditions, but she felt a flutter in her stomach as she pictured holding the baby in one arm and the “My First Christmas” ornament in her opposite hand, as the two of them decorated a glimmering tree.
“That’s very kind of you, thank you.” She cherished this gesture, knowing she would not have been able to afford such an unnecessary expense without it. She couldn’t justify such a purchase – even if it was from a rummage sale. After all, she was not even able to afford her doctor’s appointments, as she was unexpectedly let go from work months ago.
“No worries…kids are the greatest gift of all. Mine are grown now, but I’m glad this is going to a new home.”
The crisp autumn wind swirled around her, and she wrapped herself up in the warmth of the promise of memories soon to be created.
The baby’s first day home – her little angel swaddled beside her.
The baby’s chocolate-brown eyes and chocolate-brown skin that would match hers.
The baby’s first steps, first words, first day of school.
First macaroni art project.
First skinned knee and a kiss to make it better.
A soft smile bloomed upon her lips, and she embraced the exciting anticipation of what would soon be reality. It was the most wonderful time of the year.
The autumn leaves fell to the ground and the bare trees quivered quietly under the heavy winter snow. December arrived, and with it, a trip to the hospital. At long last, her little angel was here.
She remembered the bright fluorescent lights of her hospital room. The clenching pains of her contractions. Something wasn’t right. She tried to tell them…something wasn’t right. She screamed for help, but all that echoed in reply was silence.
Finally, she was rushed to another room. She thought, Christmas was always a beautiful season of ruby reds and glorious greens. But today it was just red. Lots of red. Too much red. She heard a chorus of voices above her. This was the strangest Christmas carol she had ever heard. What kind of song had phrases like “scalpel” and “black health outcomes” and “EBL” in them? Everything was a haze.
The radio blared a singer’s silky baritone voice, “…Echoing their joyous strains…Glo-o-o-o-ria in excelsis deo.” The air hinted at the sweet scents of fresh pine and homemade sugar cookies on the drive home.
She set her keys down on the table. Beside them glinted the worn embellishments of the white and gold ornament. She picked it up and hurled it against the wall. It shattered.
The “My First Christmas” that never arrived.
Her little angel.
Read More CWA 2023 Winners
For a complete list of previous CWA winners, please visit Past Creative Writing Awards.