Harsh abrasive white light,
Every surface it exposes.
My tender ear drums.
I’m concerned my ears are bleeding. My eyes reddened, 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. I can see him. I shut my eyes. I prefer the darkness. Pungent, sickly sweet. 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. I look. Drawn to a pulsating red button. I want to press it.
‘OOhh look he’s soooo sweet, I’ll move him nearer to you shall I?’
The nurse pulled 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.’ 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. Always wanting something.
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. 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. It’s not right. Someone else must want him, more than me. Surely. I’ve read about women desperate for those things. I could make someone happy. She would be knitting little booties for him and singing him lullabies. 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. 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. I’ve read about her. I could help her. She would love him.
‘Take that one’
‘Feed that one’