In the weeks before she gave birth, Vanessa drew every breath of life from out of her visitors. Friends, relatives and medical personnel all had to leave some vital part of themselves with her, as though the viability of her pregnancy depended upon gifting her with a soul piece.
In return she gave nothing.
No joy for the grandparents, no insight to her twin nieces, Janie and Olivia whose young minds were eager to learn what the expanding bulge Vanessa carried felt like. More likely they would have liked to know what the baby would mean for them; specifically the frequent cinema visits they had enjoyed up until a month ago and which were, like everything else, cut short.
Nobody had thought to explain things to them. Nobody considered, they supposed, that cinema visits were important. The towering adults just passed them in the corridor, their sombre figures shrinking into her room with increasing regularity.
That room swallowed everything. The twins had listened, once, at its olive drab door and heard nothing. They had expected to hear plans which they wouldn’t understand. They had expected to hear their aunt, bedridden as she was, asking their uncle how they were. That had been, after all, what they had heard the last time she had fallen sick and they had waited at the top of their grandmother’s staircase.
Instead they were gifted with the silence and the flow of visitors towards the horizon of this most
It was only after the birth, after that vortex of life finally spat out the wailing child that the twins heard voices once more. They heard of plans and practicalities as the family were, finally, irrevocably freed from Vanessa’s all-consuming situation.
The child would grow and their aunt would be put to rest.