THE FEVER

PERSPECTIVE:

THE FEVER

A haunting and poetic original short story from artist, writer and orator Lillian Paige Walton.

The doctor applied a strong-smelling balm to the baby’s feet.

The baby wailed.

The doctor held the baby upside down.

The baby screamed.

The doctor put the baby in a basin filled with an inch of milk.

The baby hollered.

The doctor ran up and down eight flights of stairs with the baby in his arms. The baby laughed in spite of itself, but began to cry again when the doctor reached the bottom.

“Enough,” the woman said to the doctor, “You’ve done enough!” She took the baby in her arms. She fled the doctor's office and the gawking receptionist. The baby’s forehead was hot against her cheek.

Outside the street was full of cabs, but all were occupied. Coffins on wheels, she thought to herself. A cab with its lit service light emerged. The woman waved it down, but it didn’t stop. Well-intentioned strangers offered her advice, sometimes pertaining to her sick child, sometimes not. She searched the streets, no longer sure what she was looking for. The straps of her shoes cut into her feet, so she took them off. They flapped over her shoulder as she ran away from it all. Down and down until she reached the river.

At the water’s edge, a quiet voice rose from her breast.

“When you are ready to listen to me,” the baby said, “I will tell you what I want.”