Friday, August 12, 2005

The Weight of One Child

(spoilers to May Day)

By J.D.

Not until the train doors had closed and the car had left the platform did I even realize that it had come and gone.  The fog that had held me prisoner since the fetal tones had grown silent was still strong even here away from the hospital.  I am trained to help people, to save their lives, I could have saved his if not for his mother, if not for the fear of losing my license. I can feel the weakness in my legs beginning, the rolling of my stomach as I fight the urge to throw-up and I force myself to sit and drop my head into my hands. 

How could she just let him die?  How could she lie there and listen to his heartbeat grow slower and slower and not let me save him? What kind of monster carries a child for nine months inside of her, feels it growing, feels it moving only to have it come to term so she can let it die?

I think of how it was with Danijela, first with Jasna, then later with Marko, how from the moment she learned she was with child she seemed to glow.  I remember nights when I would lay with my head on her stomach and listen to the sound of our babies as they moved inside her, feel them as they turned this way and that.  I remember how anxious they seemed to come out and become part of our lives and how much we worried on those days when they were quiet.  I remember how excited we were as her due dates grew closer and closer and how we planned for each babies arrival.

God, I wanted to scream at this baby's mother, I wanted to first shake her then hit her, find a way to make her realize what a mistake she was making.  Even now I still feel the anger I felt at her, the disgust, and I know it is driven by my own feelings of loss.  Even after so many years I can summon those emotions with barely a second thought, she may not understand the loss of her son, but I do, all too well. 

I hope she remembers what it was like to deliver her son, the pain that accompanied his birth, the silence instead of the cry that should have announced his arrival.  I want her to remember that he was perfect, that he had all ten fingers and all ten toes, that he would have been healthy if not for her selfishness.  I hope she remembers how beautiful he was, and that she sees his face in her dreams the way I still see my children in mine.

As I sit here now on the platform and wait for the next train I know images of him will linger with me for days if not weeks.  I know too that those thoughts will bring ones of my own children, dreams of them as babies, of times with Danijela, and unavoidably the moments of their deaths.  I know I shouldn't let my thoughts travel this path, it's one I've been down too often it seems since I've been spending time with Carol and her daughters.  Or had been I should say, with her gone. I can't even go to her to talk about what happened and so I'll keep my silence, my memories and my thoughts to myself as I've done for far too many years.

Increased activity on the platform stirs me into rising and I move back towards the track to wait.  Saved by the train, or at least I've been given a reprieve, I know the thoughts will be back, they'll last a few days, maybe a week only to go back into hiding until the next time.  If only I could remember,  from one time to the next,  the power behind the weight of one child.

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