Model Mother

A story a day until there’s a sleigh! This holiday season, I’m sharing a new flash fiction piece inspired by a holiday song every day of December until Christmas. Today’s story is inspired by Mary Did You Know?

God chose only one woman, the Holy Virgin Mary, to bear his son, Jesus Christ, but there have been many women since then chosen to portray Mary–in pageants and films, as models for paintings and statuary. Marsila was one of these women.

“I need you to hold the baby like you love the baby,” Lorenzo, the artist and her husband, said to her.

“I do love the baby. How could I look like I am anything other than loving him?”

Marsila did love Vittorio, their second son, but after a week of holding him while Lorenzo sketched, her arms ached.

“I do not see love on your face, my dear. You think not of the baby but only of your own weariness.”

“I think of Vittorio’s weariness and my own weariness,” Marsila said. “He needs to take his rest.”

Vittorio fussed in her arms, adding credibility to her complaint.

“It will take only a few minutes more if you would would focus and put yourself in the mind of the Holy Virgin Mother, blessed be her name.”

Marsila smiled. She supposed that Mary would be happy to be holding the child of God in her arms.

“Ah, Marsila, what are you believing?” Lorenzo scolded. “Mary is not some worthy comb-maker’s daughter giving birth to a regular boy. She has given birth to the Son of God who will die on the cross to save us all from sin.”

“Do you think she knew all that, Lorenzo, when Jesus was a baby in her arms?” Marsila asked.

“Of course she knew! The bible tells us the angel told her. Now, try to look like you know.”

Marsila flipped her expression in the opposite direction to a frown.

“Too sad,” Lorenzo shouted. “You need to look like you are loving the baby!”

Vittorio, upset by his father’s outburst, started crying. Marsila brought her cheek to his and started rocking him in her arms, trying to soothe away his discomfort. She closed her eyes and willed Vittorio to do the same. If Lorenzo wouldn’t let them rest, then maybe they would nap together like this, Marsila standing and Vittorio resting on her bosom.

“That’s perfect, my dear” Lorenzo said. “Now hold still.”

Marsila didn’t take a breath.

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