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How carelessly sunshine splashed onto the floor of the nursery. Emily stood in the doorway, amazed at the bright flood pouring through the window this morning. The golden light glazed the painted wooden furniture and bounced from the mobile, stirred by a faint current of air, turning silently over the crib.

On the bureau the music box carousel sat where she had left it last week, its horses ready to circle at the turn of a key. Music would play, and the spotted horses would ride up and down on their striped poles.

Sunlight struck the faceted crystal bowl that Emily had set on the changing table and scattered rainbows that clung to the walls and ceiling. The roses in the bowl were pink and yellow, Peace roses they called them.

The tiny flowers in Emily’s soft cotton dress were pink and yellow, too. The pillows on the rocker were pink, and the pad on the changing table, and the roses Emily had stenciled on the wall in the months before Lena was born. And before it had been stripped, the crib had been made up with white sheets with pink flowers that were almost the same color as Lena’s rosebud mouth.

Emily felt her husband’s hand on her shoulder, gentle, tentative. Richard stood with her a while, looking into the empty room. He wore the same dark blue suit he’d worn when they married. “Emily,” he said, “It’s time.”

(c) 2004 Miriam N. Kotzin. "Sunshine" was published in 3711 Atlantic, Winter, 2004-2005.