A life, imagined

February 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

The woman about to become a mother braces her heels on the chair next to the hospital bed, the white linen bunching up as she contorts slightly. The air is an even temperature in the ward, and the light is buzzing. A TV is silently flickering a soapie and the nurses are clipped, efficient.

The doctor comes in. He’s earnest. Not quite frowning, but not smiling. Taking in the details in a routine he does many times a day. Patient’s name. Chart. Signs of distress. The urgency with which he works isn’t because the baby is at risk, but rather because he has other rooms to visit, other patients waiting for his diagnoses.

The woman hisses through her teeth. Forgets about her bag with the impossibly small babygro inside; nappies folded and ready. She shifts again, bumping the wheeled tray and the glass with the condensation droplets quivers. Her knees are raised, now, and her body is exposed to the doorway, but it doesn’t matter. Her face is flushed, her hair damp with effort.

The doctor holds her hand, but he’s really taking her pulse, his wide thumb placed on the veins which bob up and down next to the identification bracelet.

In the rawest of places, the doctor checks the dilation, nods.

There’s some crying and moaning, and a confusion of white coats coming in and out of the room. Pain. White light. And a gentle gasp as the baby appears.

She’s perfect. A mixture of purple, blue, pink and then red. Her tangled hair is caught in wet swirls across her scalp. Tiny eyes are bulging but closed, then squinting. Deep black. Her tummy sinks in as she gasps for breath and then bleats out her first tears.

The mother blinks away tears and gapes at her baby girl. At the tiny perfection of it all. Those tiny half-moon nails, the skinny, wrinkled feet. She reaches out to her and strokes her cheek. Apricot skin.

A smile crosses the woman’s face for the first time. Anene, she whispers, Anene, jy’s te pragtig, my kind.

RIP, Anene Booysen. Feb, 2013. SD.

13 responses to A life, imagined

  1. Oh my word, what an amazing piece. Thank you for the reminder that this is how we all start.
    RIP Anene, God bless and keep you close. xx

  2. what a beautifull, well written and amazing piece. We never do forget those first minutes of birth.
    RIP Anene, and all the other beautiful souls we have lost so far

  3. Mascara is running. Beautiful tribute Scott
    RIP Anene

  4. Wow. Powerful stuff.

  5. As well written as this is, the sad part is that the woman who gave birth to her is not the woman who cried at her death and who buried her. She was in the foster system; which actually makes this story even worse. (And by the way, a little side issue; a pulse is never measured with the thumb. It has to be the otehr fingers)

    • Thanks for commenting. I know she was in the foster system. I guess it was an attempt at reminding myself that every victim is a human whose life should be remembered- that each life has value. Interesting detaill about the pulse- thanks!

  6. So beautiful Scott, this gave me chills that hasn’t stopped running over and through me for at least half an hour now… What a wonderful tribute…

  7. Anene could be any girl. It’s such a distressing case. Thanks for reading, everyone.

  8. Eyes are teary, lump in throat, its all so sad…

  9. My comment about the foster system is not a criticism of your writing. In fact, I think that your point is made even more powerful with the knowledge of this poor childs life. Its a good article; thank you.

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