The Law of Moses
Author:Amy Harmon

The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon






THE FIRST FEW WORDS of every story are always the hardest to write. It’s almost as if pulling them out, putting them on paper, commits you to seeing it all through. As if once you start, you are required to finish. And how do you finish when some things never end? This is the story of love with no end . . . though it took me a while to get there.


If I tell you right up front, right in the beginning that I lost him, it will be easier for you to bear. You will know it’s coming, and it will hurt. It will still make your chest ache and your stomach flip with dread. But you’ll know, and you’ll be able to prepare. And that’s my gift to you. I wasn’t given that same courtesy. I wasn’t prepared.


And after he was gone? It got worse, not better. The days grew harder, not easier. The regret was just as intense, the sorrow just as cutting, the endless stretch of days before me, days spent without him, just as hard. In truth—since I’ve decided that’s all I have—I would gladly submit myself to anything else. Anything but that. But that is what was given to me. And I wasn’t prepared.


I can’t tell you how it felt. How it still feels. I can’t. Words feel cheap and ring hollow and turn everything I say, everything I feel, into a tawdry romance novel full of flowery phrases designed to illicit sympathetic tears and an immediate response. A response that has nothing to do with reality and everything to do with easy emotion that you can set aside when you close the cover. Emotion that has you wiping your eyes and chirping a happy hiccup, appreciating the fact that it was all just a story. And best of all, not your story. But this isn’t like that.


Because it is my story. And I wasn’t prepared.











THEY FOUND MOSES in a laundry basket at the Quick Wash, wrapped in a towel, a few hours old and close to death. A woman heard him cry and picked him up, putting him against her skin and wrapping them both in her coat until she could get help. She didn’t know who his mother was or if she was coming back, she only knew that he wasn’t wanted, that he was dying, and that if she didn’t get him to a hospital soon, it would be too late.


They called him a crack baby. My mom told me crack babies are what they call babies who are born addicted to cocaine because their mothers do drugs while they are pregnant. Crack babies are usually smaller than other babies because most of them are born too early to unhealthy moms. The cocaine alters their brain chemistry and they suffer from things like ADHD and impulse control. Sometimes they suffer from seizures and mental disorders. Sometimes they suffer from hallucinations and hyper sensitivity. It was believed that Moses would suffer from some of these things, maybe all of these things.


They shared his story on the ten o’clock news. It was a great story, a human interest piece—a little baby left in a basket at a dingy laundromat in a bad neighborhood in West Valley City. My mom says she remembers the story well, the pathetic shots of the baby in the hospital, hanging onto life, a feeding tube in his stomach and a little blue hat on his tiny head. They found the mother three days later, not that anyone wanted to hand the baby over. But they didn’t have to. She was dead. The woman who had abandoned her baby in a laundromat was pronounced dead on arrival from an apparent overdose at the very same hospital where her baby lay struggling for life, several floors above her. Somebody had found her too, though not in a laundromat.