Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Four minutes and thirty nine seconds


That’s enough. That’s enough time for me to find her. To let my eyes brush over every other person waiting by the conveyor belts, desperation washing over their faces with each passing minute. I find her by the benches, but she isn’t sat in the one empty spot. Her hands are clasped around her book but it isn’t open, she isn’t reading. She is waiting. Her cheeks are rosier than they ever had been and her lips seem lonely. My sprint turns into a wander as I embrace her, resting my nose in her hair. It still smelt like apples.

 ***
That’s enough. That’s enough time for her final words. “Just keep working hard, okay? That’s what will get you places. Make me proud.” That’s enough time for the heart monitor to find one low drone and hum it through for the rest of the night. The machines start to beep and red lights flash, slicing across my face, slicing through my heart. The tears don’t come, not yet. Her pale, wrinkled body drowns in the white sheets. They ask me to stand up while they pull the bed away. I can’t stand up. I can’t move. I can’t leave her; I can’t let the strongest woman I ever knew see me as weak. I can’t walk away from my grandmother.

***

That’s enough. That’s enough time for me to fall in love. I hold him in my arms and I understand that, for the first time, our family will feel whole again. His mouth stays open and his wails echo around the room but the tears never come. He isn’t crying because he’s hungry, or because he needs to be in his new mother’s arms, he’s screaming out to the world, “I’m here”, he’s making himself known, he’s begun the incredible journey of his life and he’s building it up any way he can. And I stroke his forehead, not telling him to be quiet, because I want my brother to know that I will be there – with him. Whenever he needs me.