To Be or Not

Picture Credits:  Ulrike Mai

When the blood spilled out of her the first time, staining her sheets vermillion and pulling from her the center of her bodhi poojas, incessant whispers, caresses of the belly, and endlessly, overwhelmingly positive thoughts that willed this growth to be a kind, well-mannered, gentle, and altruistic soul, she fell to the floor and refused to get up. Her husband squealed when he entered the room, and he ran to her – the blood catching in the creases of his toes and the dips of his soles. She wailed and wailed, until every whisper she had fed into herself spilled out in a cacophony of undulating cries. Head bent, arms outstretched, she cupped her hands to the floor and tried desperately to pull back in towards her the loss that was spooling around her. Her husband dropped to his right knee, his left foot firmly on the ground for support as he positioned himself behind her and held each of her arms up in each of his telling her epa. Don’t. The tears streamed from his eyes, dropping to the floor, splattering against their pride and glory. Try as he may, he could not lift his wife whose bones seemed to have densified under his grasp. They were heavy, sunken. They both remained like that, he holding her arms towards him, she falling towards the floor, the two of them releasing everything that been burgeoning over the past five months, until finally, when darkness began enveloping the small room, when they heard the familiar click of the light atop a pole in-between theirs and their neighbours’ homes being switched on, she croaked to him to call for the midwife and pulled herself up onto the sheets on which there glistened a darkening, hardening red.