A room with a view of slate coloured clouds, contrasting with the bright yellow curtains. A drip pumps liquid into my veins via thin tubes, my skin looking as plastic as a doll. Mum sits straight backed in the wicker chair, by the head of my bed, staring at the door. I roll over to my side and stare at Him. "He's rather handsome, isn't he?" Mum remarks, I glance over my shoulder and nod. In the plastic box, he begins rocking side to side, His eyes squeezing together before wailing. "Are you going to get him?"
"Hmm," I hum, propping myself up onto my elbow. I force myself out of bed, my pyjamas feeling heavy and uncomfortable, I step towards the cot, He wriggles around on the spot, His face creased up together. I marvel at His little self. Not for the first time in the past eight months, I wonder about the future, how am I going to support this baby? What if I can't handle it, what if He won't love me, if we can't bond like those stupid leaflets say should happen? What if I can't love Him, why don't I have that natural maternal kick mothers apparently should have? What is wrong with me?
"Kerry?" Mum snaps me out of my trance, "Are you going to get him - would you like some help?"
My head shakes numbly. Shaking, my arms reach out and my hands grasp Him beneath His armpits pulling Him up before me. He wears a pale blue baby-grow with a matching hat. He bawls, turning His face pink and soaking His face. His hands are in tiny fists, shaking. Is He angry? Mum says something, I can't understand her, it's all fussy like a bad radio connection. She walks around the single hospital bed and takes Him away from me, cooing him to sleep. That's what I'm supposed to be doing - what's wrong with me? I step back and sit on the bed, my hands on my lap, staring at a random patch on the wall. You're just a bad mother, just like he said you'd be.
The baby stops crying, mum says that He'll need feeding soon. She puts the baby back down into the cot, placing a cream cotton blanket over His little body. Then, she sits down next to me, claims my hands and brings them to her. "Honey," she starts. "You're going to have to get a hold of yourself. If not for you, then for that little boy, right there," she nods to the cot. I don't answer, nor do I look at Him, I just stare out of the window.
Someone knocks on the door and comes in, "Hey," Eva says, "How are you all?"
Mum gets up and embraces her as she walks to us. She whispers something to Eva, who hums in response. Mum says something to me, I can't hear though; my ears are filled with that annoying static you get after a concert or something. The stiff mattress lifts a little as Eva sits next to me. "What's up, Chick?" she asks in a soothing voice, unlike Mum, she doesn't take my hands, she just sits next to me, allowing my own space. Unable to speak, I shrug my shoulder, not looking at anything in particular.
Eva coughs, as if trying to break the tension in the air. "Have you thought about what you're going to call him?"
"No," my voice cracks from lack of use. My vision blurs blinding me, tears sprint down my cheeks. Eva shuffles up to me, cradling me with her skinny arms wrapped tightly around my shoulders. "Hey hey hey, c'mon, Kerry, calm down." She rocks me like a baby. "Ian said he'll come and visit tomorrow after school. I think Mum's gunna stay the night and bring us here tomorrow. That all right?" she asks, I nod, my head resting against her shoulder with tears drying like little snail tracks down my cheeks.
We sit in near silence for half an hour or so. "Eva," I start, pulling away, she hums. "What am I going to do?"
Her brows knot together, her head tilting to the side. "What do you mean?"
"How am I going to bring up a baby on my own - Dad isn't going to help, he defiantly won't let me move back."
"What? Of course he will!" she objects fiercely.
I smile sadly, "No - no, he won't. He said..." I gulp down a fresh load of tears. "He said I can't go back, unless - unless I give the baby up. No - no, let me speak, Eva. He - He was going to kick me out when I found out I was - you know. He wanted me to have an abortion, that's when he and Mum started to argue, because of the ‘Kerry situation.' Ha!" I look over at Him in the cot, sleeping peacefully. You can't give him up, even though you don't even love him. Where is your mothering spirit? Dad was right, you always were going to be an awful mother - a child bringing up a child, this isn't the Middle Ages anymore. A spiteful little voice whispers in my head, echoing around from side to side.
"Kerry?" Eva says softly, drawing me away from my thoughts. "What's the matter? Mum says you haven't really, I don't know bonded yet..." I say nothing, thinking of the moment where I cried with Him in my arms. They were not joyful tears, though. The midwife looked concerned; I don't know what it was though, something about him settled uneasy in my stomach. "Kerry?"
"What?" I snap.
She raises a brow, "I said do you want me to stay the night? I can you know. I'm ahead with all the schoolwork, anyways."
"Would you do that?" I feel myself welling up again. She smiles, "'Course I will, you're my sister, it's what we do."
"Thanks, Eva." I breath before pulling her into a tight hug, she mutters a quiet, it's all right and hugs back. He wakes up and wails.