MUSHROOM m i n d

By Steph Raymond All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Poetry



The final few months of pregnancy revolved around financial troubles, apartment troubles, incredible pain and bed rest.

Gemma did her best to ignore all of these stresses so that she could safely bring her baby earth-side.

She had come home to heal

and instead her sister had stolen hundreds of dollars’ worth of what little Gemma and Caleb had worked very hard for, while they saved for a place of their own,

her father broke her heart,

and her mother in law stranded her at doctor’s appointments while she couldn’t walk and had no money...

knowingly locked her out of the house multiple times in the summer heat

while she was nine months pregnant.

Caleb’s mother had been disappointed in the pregnancy since she’d first heard about it and made it known every chance she got. She also made it known that she thought Gemma and Caleb were a couple of pin heads who knew nothing compared to her. Gemma could not stand the fact that every conversation became an argument and to make matters worse they were now living with her.

She originally told them she was moving out June 1st so that they could take over the rent controlled lease and at least have a couple of weeks to prepare for the baby.

Instead she extended her stay to “who knows when”, would not allow Gemma or Caleb’s things outside of the room they were staying in, and only spoke to scold or complain.

Gemma was living in a constant state of anxiety whilst already trying to fight through the depression she’d fallen into before her pregnancy began in the city.

But every new home seemed to have its own dark cloud living inside.

Caleb had finally landed a good paying job close to home only to lose it a couple of weeks later due to not having a full license;

luckily his former boss at the restaurant up the street was happy to take Caleb back for however long he needed.

It was night and Caleb was soundly asleep beside her while her mind spun wildly out of control. All of her

f e a r s

raiding her very bones so that she lay shaking and in tears. She knew she could not be this way when the baby comes, and wanted so badly to be better for him.

Suddenly she felt him.

A limb tucked into the side of her belly, pushing into her as though he was trying to poke a hole through her skin to catch a glimpse of this strange, wild world.

She instinctively placed a hand where the bump in her belly swelled, feeling the silken outline of her son.

She took a deep breath and smiled through her tears.

“I love you sweet boy.”

She whispered to him in the dark,

“I know you already and I love you.

Everything will be okay, I promise.”

He began to squirm around in the tight space her belly allowed, and Gemma fell asleep to his movement,

m e m o r i z i n g

the way he bloomed within her,

feeling the hope his growth had rooted into her soul.

Sometimes the

s t a r s

need to


before they can align.

Everything will be okay

dear friend,


you let it be.


When she heard the news that a

body was found,

it was as though time had

s l o w e d

and her senses became magnified.

She could remember, even years later, the sound of water boiling in a pot on the stove,

the pencil held by the hands of her brother as it trailed along the lined pages of a notebook…

even the mumbling television voices coming from the level bellow.

The next few hours passed in a foggy time lapse.

She replayed everything in her head; from the very last day she saw him skating happily on the canal, to the day he went missing, and every disarrayed ordeal since.

She thought of him when they were young


s u n

setting in the summer evenings,

kicking a soccer ball along a long grassy field,

swatting bugs and collecting stains and bruises.

In high school…

him leaning against the wall,

pursing his lips into a smile and nodding his head awkwardly.

Setting up for school dances,

laughing when the balloon he was blowing up popped in his face—

their drunken conversations with cats at house parties

and boozy cartwheels along every lawn on their way home.

In University,

running into each other here and there,

promising to see each other more, but rarely following through.

How he had a secret passion for painting birds and playing guitar and how

she’d never heard him say anything unkind toward another human being…

How nothing about him seemed very remarkable…

And yet,

There was subtle magic emitting constant

l i g h t

from his being and pouring into all he had beheld like a star in the sky.

His infectious yet peculiar charm had imprinted itself into her spirit.

Knowing him had changed her, though he would never know that; and she would regret, for as long as she lived, that the darkness that she herself knew too well had drowned him.

“It’s confirmed…the body they found was his.”

Her mother’s voice seemed to echo through the phone

and she couldn’t remember how their conversation went after that,

or even how it ended.

But she could still feel the burn of each tear that fell down her face as she cried for the loss of

a friend,

his family’s loss of a brother and son,

and the world’s loss of a

c h a r m e d s o u l .

His kindness and genuine nature,

so rare among other humans,

are what made him unforgettable to anyone who met him…and she knew that she was lucky to

have known a person with such

r a w h u m a n i t y

and goodness.

His existence held eternal inspiration for her.

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