Bob had a problem with children. That’s how his wife described it when her friends asked about their lack of off-spring, despite fifteen years of marriage. Her statement was the top coat on a thoroughly colorful cover-up that the world would despise if discovered. Though it was certainly true that Bob had a problem, it would take tragedy after tragedy to break his wife’s well-built wall of deceit. Her friends would never understand the hard work, love, and dedication she put into her marriage. They would overlook all of that when the time came.
The first to come and go was Beauty. Beauty brought joy to Bob and his wife like neither had ever felt. When she drowned in the bathtub two months on, the couple buried Beauty under Bob’s prized daffodils. It took years before the two were ready to try again. Bob was insistent, but his wife was too scared of what might happen to another child in their home.
When she got pregnant the second time, she quit her job to raise Wisdom in a more hands-on fashion. She did her best to keep Bob away from Wisdom. She was the pinnacle of over-protective. When Wisdom fell from the second floor window, she landed in Bob’s flower garden, only a few feet from Beauty’s grave. After burying their second, Bob gave a long look at his wife and walked away with a sigh. His wife seethed inside.
Their third and final was more than Bob could bear. She was born on a crisp October day. As his wife rested in their marital bed, Bob carried the swaddled bundle outside and set her down in the back yard. She cooed and gurgled as he dug steadily in his garden. Just as he had finished his task, his harried wife ran out from the house screaming. She pounded on Bob’s chest and bawled as he held her shoulders tightly. She begged him not to do it. She couldn’t have things end this way. Bob shushed her softly and rocked back and forth until she calmed down. Finally, she slumped down onto the potting bench and stared blankly as Bob gathered up the sleeping newborn and her two soiled, silenced sisters.
He carried them toward the car and loaded them into the back seat. Wisdom and Beauty lay on the floor as Bob put his third in the carrier he’d had in the car for ten years. “I’ll name you Truth,” he whispered in her ear. Bob grinned widely as he drove off to the police station. In the yard, his wife tried to decide what color dress would best compliment the hangman’s noose.