In the narrow corridor that smelled disinfectant in every whiff and reflected snow in every tile, they two sat down in that cosy corner that faced the door to the maternity ward, to steal by few moments of togetherness, oblivion of what lay ahead.
“So, you will be leaving early tomorrow morning?”- her voice quivered as her palm tightened its hold over his long fingers resting on her lap.
He knew that even a single word of endearment will make her eyes swell with tears like the waters ready to break anytime from her ballooning sac. Even before he could reply, a loud cry filled the corridor and they smiled at each other.
Her moistened eyes suddenly brightened to tease him- “Tomorrow, this might be our moment and if you are not around, I’ll be the first to hold her (mother instincts, maybe) and you might miss!” Like a kid managed to have snatched an additional slice of a red velvet cake, she gleamed with her tease so much so that that he couldn’t resist but to plant a kiss on her apple cheeks.
It was their first pregnancy and she looked like a Goddess who stepped down from heaven, glowing grandly in her 39th week into gestation. It was certainly not in his whims or wishes to leave by her side but the calling of duty pressed him to take a leave.
By then, the ward nurse came by, a sign that it was time for her to get back to rest. At that moment, their hearts longed to have one of those tight-bone-crushing-hugs but then he left her with a feather-touch-warmth of his body embracing her bellied out body.
He had already fathered the feather touch, she, clearly being his first baby. They parted their ways with his long strides and her flounder in directions diagonally opposite.
As she reached to her cot, a sudden cloud of darkness gloomed. Her fainting body held the rails of the cot in a reflex while the bulk of her body weighed upon the nurse who held her from falling.
All she could hear was her palpitations louder than the chaos that surrounded her in a jiffy. One part of her wanted to scream out for him while the other panicked for the baby inside. Her burdening breathes could strive just for a puff of air and not a scream.
Even before she could make sense of any of the commotion around her and the jerks and pricks in her body, her eyelids shuttered slowly, catching a glimpse of his bright red checkered shirt at a distance with her lips pursed in prayers.
“Darkness slow and deep, quiet, still, unmoving, unbreathing in a dark, sugary sleep: no pain, no joy, no sight, no sound, no taste; she remained floating, distant. She wouldn’t wake up, she’d stay in this cotton-wool world, its soft, sleepy music lifting her up through the roof, the banisters, the rooms up above, through the entire weight of the building, its steeple. She rose like a wisp of cloud.”
Just in moments, the snow-white tiles had contours of red and the eerily silent corridor echoed wails of her pain. Her glowing face has by now faded behind the glazed doors of the Intensive Care Unit and all he could get was a hurried glimpse of her pale face.
His trembling hands filling the customary papers with details and signatures resonated a typewriter’s clickety clack. The length of the corridor fell short for his long hastened strides of nervousness.
His heart throbbed. Her memories flashed. The silence sucked. Time dragged. Just when the loneliness started growing upon him, hauntingly, the sight of the nurse with her arms tucked with a bundle of pink sent him the warmth of comfort and joy.
A surreal sigh. He carefully extended his arms to feel his little princess close to his heart, a throne of grandeur where she had already started ruling.
In what felt like a moment of surrealism, he heard her voice echo: “I’ll be the first to hold her and you might miss”. She was wrong, for the very first time. He beamed in pride but only for a wink’s time.
His moist eyes went dry in search of a glimpse of her face. Behind the glazed doors, his anchor of life lay in wires of support system. His heart throbbed. Her memories flashed. The silence sucked. Time dragged.
After what felt like decades of waiting, the door opened. As the wheels of the stretcher made their way through the door, he reached out to his life system in what looked like a cheetah’s leap. His sweaty palms at once sought the comfort of her soft palm while his eyes went ahead to steal a smile from her to share the joy and pride, to tease her out in return that he was the first to hold her and just one gaze at her calm face that rested unaware and at peace, everything was communicated to him in a soul’s say.
“Darkness slow and deep, quiet, still, unmoving, unbreathing in a dark, sugary sleep: no pain, no joy, no sight, no sound, no taste; she remained floating, distant. She wouldn’t wake up, she’d stay in this cotton-wool world, its soft, sleepy music lifting her up through the roof, the banisters, the rooms up above, through the entire weight of the building, its steeple. She rose like a wisp of cloud. “
P.S. This piece of fiction was written for the prompt (paragraphs typed above in italics) which is taken from the book “You Beneath Your Skin” written by Damyanti Biswas.
Also, this is my very first attempt at fiction. Open for constructive criticism. Let me know what you think!
This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.
Hi, I’m Seethalakshmi (aka) Preethi, a Poetpreneur who can help you find solace in reading, writing and/or gifting poetry. Drop an email at email@example.com to get a customised poetry gift or to get honest feedback for your poetry.