The Baby Apollonia


Christmas Eve on the bridge, and a star in the north, blazing behind the fog. God looked down into the carriage. So sweetly sound, Apollonia slept. He listened for the rushing water beneath. The river.
Gazing upon his only daughter, ‘I can’t do this, again,’ God whispered to her. ‘I can’t.’
He glanced back at the housing project. Only hours before had the baby girl been born. Pushed forth from a woman who had spent her entire existence in those projects. A woman of destitution. God considered the woman in there, the mother of Apollonia, then he didn’t. She had probably died. There had been an absurd amount of blood spilled.
He looked to the yellow, glowing windows.
Is anyone watching? Don’t think so.
Once more, he listened for the water, the faraway howl that was the river. God’s hands under his baby’s body, he lifted her from the pram. Without giving himself a second to think, to reconsider, he threw Apollonia. Her tiny frame, like a tired doll, spun helplessly in the air, and fell below the bridge. There was a splash, of course, but God did not hear it. If his only daughter made a noise, it was not for him to know. He reached out, placing his hands on the railing of the bridge. Staring into the dark haze. Upriver, God saw Christmas lights shining around a house. Soon, he turned, palms on the childless carriage, and pushed the empty pram home.

Christmas morning rose with the sun, and in the city, girls, boys, and mothers and fathers awoke in a fervor. But, there had been a baby the night before. A newborn on Christmas Eve. God’s child, his first since his son. A girl. So named Apollonia. And as joyful families tore through gifts and littered their floors with wrapping paper, how were these celebrators to know of the horror of Christmas Eve? How were they to know of the Daughter of God, or of the bridge from which she was tossed?

The first light of sunrise fell into his apartment. God lay awake in bed. For a moment, he thought. This is not truly my Son’s birthday. But, the thought came and quickly went. There was something else, now. His daughter. His only one. She spun and spun and spun, until she was gone.
Atop his old mattress, God shut his eyes, but could not close his mind.

Two men of reputable filth kneeled by the bank of the river. They wept into the icy waters. Behind them, a distance away, a third homeless man cradled a blue baby in his arms. Her little lips frozen in a grimace, her eyelids down, her arms and legs like a fetus in a womb. The man held the newborn girl, letting himself cry onto her body. Around him, skinny strays, cats and dogs, watched and meowed and barked. The baby Apollonia lay forever silent, embraced and lost in the arms of men.


1 Comment

  1. Would love to hear your thoughts on what this story means, Sean. God has given up on us? God sent her “home” where she would not know suffering? And who, for that matter, is she–to us? to God? Merry Christmas!


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