Monday, 14 October 2013

Enduring Love

I never meant to fall quiet.

But it shuts you up. As somebody far wiser pointed out.

It does. It simply shuts you up, it grabs your words away and runs off into the middle distance.

Whatever 'it' may be.


I bob about, broadening, surfacing occasionally from whatever heaviness it is that presses down upon me so. Guilt mainly. I think. I'm so clogged up with it that no senses are free to probe its precise identity. It is something that I press through, viscous and syrupy, I squelch along, my body like an ever expanding rock.

36 weeks pregnant now. But I find that I can't really think of her at all.
I can't imagine her alive, can't imagine her dead either.
Either the first or the last.

I try to speak. For my eldest daughter, my first child. But I find that it has  . . . .  shut  . . . me  . . . up.

Because I can't talk about her, or about what happened to her, in a way that anybody would want to hear. Or that would even make sense.

The quick phrase that I have prepared for occasions when I feel that I have to mention her, 'my daughter was one of twins but her sister died in intensive care' is as dry as tinder.
But it never catches alight.

Five years on and it is still only a howl that will do. Or silence. Which is the more acceptable option.

My silence peers at others. Where it sees a suspicion of a companion, sticking out around the edges of conversations and glances. Not properly tucked away.

I sigh and avert my eyes. Because what could I say? In places where there is no comfort. There is simply nothing. It shuts you up.

When people talk to me about this pregnancy, I want to change the subject. I don't want to draw any attention to myself, to her, to any of them. I don't even feel like I want to draw attention to Georgina. Which is daft - I mean what is the worst that could happen to her? Didn't it already happen? Well, one variant anyway. There are whole worlds of 'worst' out there, it transpires.

So it seems best just to quietly drift along, trying to remain inconspicuous, hoping to stay on the right side of the numbers.


Jessica selects a library book, 'Hello Twins', and I feel a slight stab, somewhere in a minor heart valve. We read the book, I try to explain that she was a twin. She looks at me, utterly mystified. And I lapse back into silence.

The same old battles rage inside, guilt and regret. Wishing that I were a better parent, a better mother. Perhaps none of this would have happened. I still expend a foolish amount of energy on simply wishing that it hadn't. No matter how many healthy babies I can birth, there will always be the first two. The unexpected and half finished twins. They look at me reproachfully, heavy with symbolism and meaning.

Although I don't believe in either of those liars, symbols, meanings. Not anymore. Doesn't mean I don't miss them from time to time however.

I plough on.

Struggles with homework and communication and toilet-ing. The slow, grinding acceptance that I am not a minor deity, that I cannot rearrange this world to suit the needs of one small child. Instead I am forced to assist in squishing her into a more socially acceptable shape instead.

Reuben bites me (unexpectedly as I thought this time had passed) and looks up, toothily satisfied. I can hardly blame him. If I had access to the being seemingly in charge of all this would I not be sharpening up my own teeth, ready to get my quick chomp in when an opportunity arose?


But, in the quiet, something still murmurs.
Despite my attempts to stuff it down into various holes, to stop its incessant, small voice.
It might have shut me up.
But it can't shut this up.

It won't let me forget.
It won't let me give up.
It won't keep quiet.
It chants.

I think that this un-shut-up-able element  . . .  might be love.