by Sarah Marshall
Everything was perfect; warm and safe inside the cocoon I knitted for you. I used soft symphonic melodies and delicate hands, carving out an exciting future. We were one. You trusted and loved me even though I was a stranger. I was your life line, your teacher, your best friend and a conduit for you when it was time to come. But ultimately I experienced overwhelming failure. I was a loser and you paid the price. The one thing I could not buy, I could not have.
I am surrounded by stark white. The smooth surface broken by a small window that permits enough sunlight to filter through. The shadows produced by the trees outside dance across the adjacent wall, until the flickering fluorescent light reports for duty, its sporadic spurting distorting my view. The machine is loud and constant. Beep, Beep. A hypnotising rhythm jarring my sensors. The clinical carbonic odour distorts the bouquets of vibrant colour. The sympathy cards hastily organised by prissy P.A’s in ivory towers from the city. Providing meaningless gestures as they move on with their busy schedules.
Others think I should be sad because I had to go through this alone. Drained of all emotions I cling to this little creature with its ten little fingers and ten little toes. My eyes are dry from straining to memorise every detail of your tiny body, which is covered in flawless skin, smooth yet lifeless.
I had always been content with my life, independent, labelled by my class mates as “most likely to succeed”. I was focussed, controlled and climbed the corporate ladder, a lone wolf’, “realistic like every other godless money-hungry back-stabbing miserable so-and-so”. The idea of finding, ‘the one’, had never interested me. A self-diagnosed perfectionist, a winner, there was never time for reflection or relationships.
It was my birthday, July fifteen. Each zero in the past had rolled into the next one, like night into day. However, this birthday was different, I was overwhelmed, feeling vulnerable and alone. I went out. The vacant faces stared at me, with blood shot eyes. The thick smoke made it almost impossible to see the sweaty bodies, pressed awkwardly against each other. As the music blasted from every direction I turned and allowed myself to be enveloped by the attention of an adoring ‘fan’.
He was there in my bed, lying naked, was a stranger, young and fit, and strangely vulnerable at that second. My life didn’t require too much examination. After all this was an older model, well-kept but with the paint starting to peel. It was a shallow moment in time, fleeting, passionate but ultimately pointless. I woke him in the morning, feigned some interest and sent him on his way.
The news was a shock and I instinctively cradled myself. However, at the same time I experienced an unexplained sense of fulfilment as the doctor calmly clarified the issue. I registered the medical jargon, “many risks”, “percentages”, “complications” and “age”, but knew he was talking about someone else.
From the moment I saw your pinched face, my body convulsed in an uncontrolled wave of emotion which overwhelmed me. Just as quickly as the tears welled up in my eye, she was snatched from my longing arms. The look on the doctor’s face confirmed that something was wrong. A bitter taste was building as I swallowed the bile in the back of my throat. The injection stung as the cold steel pieced my skin.
Still lucid but paralysed I can hear the animated voices of the nurses, as they talk openly about me. “What did she think was going to happen…Stupid!..Selfish woman!..Trying to play God” Blink, blink. HOSPITAL. SILENCE.
They brought her to me then and she lay still and contented in my arms. I know you have gone to a land far, far away, a place where you can dream, just as you had made me dream, “a place where the grass grows soft and white and the sun burns crimson bright.” The world was your oyster. If only you had opened your eyes and seen that I would have been a great mother. I was left to wonder, that had I not been your mother, then maybe this little angel may have lived. Now I have to turn off her life, before she can even look up into my eyes and decide whether or not she wants me, leaving me to wander as lonely as a cloud, feeling cheated and detached in an empty future.
Blink, Blink. The bright sunshine came spilling in as I moved towards the frigid glass doors. The demanding and constant whine of the distant, frustrated traffic reminds me of my life before. The comforting sounds of civilian life provides me with a perfect backdrop, as I tilt my head and prepare to re-establish myself once again into the life I love. I do not need to hesitate, as I take the step into the wave of humanity bustling along the pavement. I head for the office. After all, it is time to resume my life and get some perspective.