Harsh abrasive white light, bounces off, every surface in the room. It exposes everything, no places to hide, as I lay here available to everyone. The smell of disinfectant not quite over-coming the smell of sick, permeating the bedclothes.
Piercing noise is slicing through my tender ear drums. Another alarm going off. Nobody here is coping.
I’m concerned my ears are bleeding. My eyes heavy, carrying too much information. I force them to look towards the table where my tissues had been thrown down. Hand opens, closes, opens and closes. Can’t move, can’t reach. Why isn’t anything easy? I can see him, tiny little ball of flesh, like a growth that’s been removed. I shut my eyes. I prefer the darkness. The fetid smell rising from him every time he moves. I gag. The smell is physically climbing up my nostrils, painful little hooks, forcing their way into my brain. Telling me something.
‘Oh look he’s so sweet, I’ll move him nearer to you shall I?’
The blue of her uniform reminds me of better days. Her arms so strong and full of purpose. She’s always smiling, I find that painful. How can she hold her face in that position for so long.
She pulls over the cot box with an unenviable ease. I hadn’t seen her coming, my heart pounding, my flesh crawling, My flesh is moving. Hundreds of insects crawling over my skin. My flesh is moving. I can’t touch him.
‘I’m not ready to hold him’ breathing hard, sweat beads on my forehead.
‘Of course you are. You are one lucky girl, so happy and…’ Her voice is too light. It feels like she’s singing me a nursery rhyme. Her face looks distorted as if a caricature of her was sketched quickly, harshly, on a street corner.
‘You don’t understand….’ I’m struggling to hold down a warm bile gathering in the back of my throat.
‘Look all young mums struggle at first, sooner you start, sooner you can go home.’ She picks him up, hugs him to her already slightly stained chest. Looking at him throwing his head around gummily searching for a place to latch on.
‘Look he’s hungry, let’s get you started off.’
Her smile so large She’s chirruping now, like a bird. A little black bird that spreads it’s large dark wings, pecking at my ears, at my face.
Suddenly acid pours into my mouth, pushing at my teeth. Lips parted, liquid rushing down my chest, the yellow of melted butter. Flushing away the milk dripping from my tender breasts. Sour milk, bitter, light ripping my eyelids. No sanctuary. If I could leave right now, I would. Longing for nothingness, I’ll settle for some drugs. She’s talking, I have to squint hard at her to focus on her lips.
‘Let’s get you cleaned up. Don’t worry, you’re fine. A change of clothes will do you both good.’
The rhythmic squeaking of the wheels means he’s gone. I know that sound. I love that sound, cherish it. I don’t want him, he’s not really mine. I didn’t ask for this. Legs magnets to pain, stomach grasping for something. It’s normal the nurse told me, after pains. Emptiness engulfs me. I want a drink. I‘m not supposed to be here. He’s not even mine. I didn’t ask for him. Forced upon me like this, like that. I’m not having any more men being forced upon me. Not in this life time.
It’s not right. Someone else must want him, more than me. Surely. I’ve read about women desperate for those things. I could give him away, make someone happy. I can see her. The woman who would have him. She would be knitting little booties for him and singing him lullabies. Oblivious to the making of him. Not knowing the absence of love, the dirt. The blood. I can’t understand why I’m still so confused, lost in a deep fog aching, hurting, bleeding, begging, pleading, begging for help, help, help, help, help me help me. Can no one hear me? Am I actually speaking?
She would bake warm soft cake for nourishment. She would hold him close to her heart, so he fell asleep to her inner rhythm. Cinnamon bathed beauty, rubbing nutmeg on her wrists, just to inhale the scent. Bathing herself in the soft warm ingredients of love, with plenty of room to rise. Proving herself to be queen in the kitchen, an orange glow humming around her head. The cavernous space she has to fill, no little mouth to feed. It’s the only evidence of lack in her otherwise pristine kitchen. She catches herself in the metal gleam of the kitchen surfaces, her hair perfect, silky soft. Her name is either Emma or Dianne, or Lucy, a good solid, clean woman. I’ve read about her. I could help her. She would love him. I’ve got to find her. Someone’s got to find her.
‘Take that one’
I’m screaming. My throat, ripping, red raw.
‘Feed that one’
Please. I don’t want to know about anything more. I just want him gone.