She opened her eyes as I watched; her lashes fluttering back to reveal the ocean blue gaze of a newborn child. I marvelled at how much they were like my own, the uncanny shade of blue that matched mine almost perfectly and the way that her eyes looked up towards the heavens like I always did. They were huge, two windows of azure opening into an innocent soul. My fingers curled on the glass, deprived of the touch of her soft face. I wanted to cup her face between my palms and drown in those ocean blue eyes of hers, to run my fingers through her wispy hair and to kiss that darling cheek. She turned her head for a moment and I sucked in my breath as she looked directly at me. I knew that she couldn’t see me, that newborns can’t focus their eyes beyond several hands. But the feel of those blue eyes on me made me shiver nevertheless. And then she cried, her perfect face scrunched up and blotched with red. Her arms flailed wildly and she kicked her plump little legs, moving jerkily in a dance of need. I refrained from the urge to punch down the window and rush in to pick my baby up, not wanting to appear madder than they already assumed I was.
“Sweetheart, please don’t cry,” I whispered hoarsely, “Mummy’s here, mummy’s closer than you think.”
I stood in front of the bathroom mirror, my body cloaked in steam as I rubbed my hair dry. As the mist lifted, my eyes adjusted themselves and I could see clearly at last. There was my dark hair, the lanky arms and legs and the straight-up-and-down figure that Chris had sworn time and time again were the most beautiful of all. I tried to look at myself through his eyes, to see what it was in me that he saw. He told me once that I had a determination of steel and ambition that is more solid than rock, but all I saw in that girl in the mirror was softness. The steam accentuated my barely-there curves and supple limbs, framing my soft face and its features. I turned around, bending my neck backwards to survey the rest of my body. There was something out of line, something that did not belong with my pale legs and curving spine. I swivelled back again slowly, my eyes peering through the remainder of the vapour to see myself. There it was: the slight bump on my otherwise-flat stomach, a little hill upon my plain. My hands came over my belly, pressing hard as if to check whether it was real. Suddenly the sound of those video games I used to play came back into my head, the little “duh duh” sound signalling “Game’s Up”. I sighed. It was no longer out of sight, out of mind. Pulling on my favourite dress that was already too tight across the stomach, I stepped out of the bathroom and grabbed my bag. I was to meet Chris at the State Library that day to finish up our group assignment. Doing the last touch-ups of make up on the mirror near the door, I decided to zip up my jacket to hide the little bump that would surely remind Chris of... I didn’t even want to think about it. I stepped out of the flat, my hands over the slight bulge, pretending that it was a food baby, nothing more. I was getting good at this game of pretending.