The air is wet and chilly as I step out onto the street. Droplets fall from the sky yet do not wash away the grey overcast blanketing the world. Stolidly everything remains bleak, lacking colour. It is fitting weather, as it mirrors my heart perfectly. But scarcely does the rain blur my vision, or the cold register against my bare feet. For my purpose is set and there will be no turning back. I decide on a destination, and make my way towards it.
I had to get away from them. Pitying eyes and soft voices, constantly asking one thing of me or the other. Trays laden with food and medicine. “You must eat something, you must stay strong. It hurts now but you will get over this.” What do they know of pain? My breasts leak, aching for those cherubic lips that will never taste of them again, longing to nourish one that can have no more sustenance. This, and they speak to me of food.
I had to get away from him. Poor Mark! His once jovial face was etched now with perpetual sadness and worry. He too knows pain. He too has lost, and in more ways than one. I haven’t been much of a wife to him since that day. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I am praying for strength for him, as I know I’m useless for solace or support. But right now he is lost to me. I might as well be on a distant star, viewing the earth through a telescope lens. Such is my disconnect between mind and body. Minutes ago, before I escaped from the house, he came weeping, begging me to speak even just a word. I realized then he does not fully understand the magnitude of my misery.
I walk for an eternity—maybe minutes, maybe days—toward my destination. The rain has soaked my thin nightdress and I am shivering, but I barely notice. My thoughts are fixed on that day—two weeks past, I’d guess—a lifetime ago.
The pregnancy had been smooth up until then. One month earlier than expected, I found myself in labour—the longest, most arduous experience of my life. Nine hours of insufferable pain. Sometime after, the most beautiful child I will ever see was placed into my barely-conscious arms to suckle. I stared at his perfect face, and he squinted up briefly to peek at me. He must have fed. I pray he got to feed a little. Try as I might, no memory exists from that moment to the next. Maybe I slept. Maybe I passed out from the ordeal, but when I woke up, Mark had arrived. This part I remember vividly. I smiled as I imagined him holding the pilot at gunpoint, asking him to make a u-turn. How did he get here so fast? He walked slowly from the ward door to my bedside, staring at the bundle in my arms. Gradually his big, proud smile morphed into horror as he stared down in disbelief, forcing me to follow his gaze.
The sight before me turned my blood to ice, and rendered me instantly insane. My perfect boy was bluish-grey and unmoving. There was no room for denial, no hoping it was a dream. It was a cold, absolute fact that he was no longer alive. Being in an incredibly antiquated clinic, I knew there was no hope for revival.
Madness came immediately, and so my memory ceased to serve me reliably. But I have hazy recollections of endless screaming. I fought anyone who tried to take him away. I bit, spat, cursed. Something like catatonia must have taken me eventually, for my body was unresponsive, yet my mind—and the knowledge contained therein—persisted in hellish alertness. How and when I got home, I do not know. All around me they spoke of SIDS—it was natural and inexplicable, they said. But I cared not for fancy medical terms.
I look up now to find that I’ve reached my journey’s end, for I am on the deck of the Mainland Bridge. The heavens continue weeping for me, more intensely now. Without hesitation, I climb over the railing as cars whiz past behind me. Perched on the edge, grasping the railing behind me, I contemplate my life for the last time. I must have smothered him as I slept. Otherwise, I certainly missed whatever signs of distress he may have showed. One way or another, it was my doing. No matter. The pain will soon be done. I close my eyes and see the most beautiful child in the world. My sweet boy…Mummy’s coming. I look down into the river and prepare to let go.