Sukaina Walji

Lightning Baby

It is 1am and the midwife has wrapped the baby loosely in the blanket.

“Do you want to hold the baby?”

I nod, unable to speak. I pull the blanket down a little and feel the child’s soft flesh against mine. Paper delicate but alive; a new soul is linked forever to mine. I hold and hold, the soft hair frames a perfect face with huge brown eyes that stare, not blinking. Mine I think.  But the child is its own, I know that.

The midwife interrupts gently, “Don’t you want to know what it is?”

I stare at her blankly. It’s a baby, what does she mean?

“Boy or girl?”

Oh, I hadn’t thought of that. The midwife looks down, and I open the blanket to look further. A girl. She whimpers.

Then a problem.

My placenta has not expelled itself. It has snapped and popped back in. They call the consultant. They take the baby and prepare me for theatre.

I am wheeled into the operating room. The anesthetist comes over and holds my hand. “Don’t worry,” he says, “I’ll look after you.” He’s the only one I know in the room. The others are new doctors, only called for emergencies. The room is crowded; they have woken up the junior doctors for whom this event will be a useful teaching exercise.

I vow then, make a pact with whoever is in charge, if I survive this I will be a better person, a better mother than I might have been. I see clearly my past, and I see clearly my futures. In that moment I shed an old skin as they scrape and expel inside me. A new being emerges from that theatre, an older, sadder elated woman who has faced leaving and now has someone for whom she must stay. She has understood herself in that cold sterile place where life has come and life almost went.

The baby has stayed silent in her father’s arms. They have changed her into the too-big clothes I chose in a previous life, the sleeves folded back to reveal her tiny hands. She has waited so patiently, my daughter, and when I put her to my breast she sucks with the vigour of the thirsty. Each suck is a pull of pain and relief.

I revere my body: in all its flab and flaps it gives sustenance to another I surrender to what will be, trying less to control than be controlled by what is, and should be. I embrace all my futures now; her future; my future, our futures entwined. I want to survive, for myself, for her and the other children I want to have.

She continues to suck clumsily, and I help her to reattach until she is sleepy and her sucking slows, and then she is still. I look and look at her, drinking in her beauty, holding that feeling of flesh against flesh forever.

Sukaina Walji

It was dawn in the office and the teaspoon twiddled her thumbs ostentatiously. Twiddle this way, twiddle that. As she wiggled her body side to side, the ornate filigree carvings on the handles sparkled this way and that. When will he come, she thought? She meant HIM of course. The one. The chosen one. She lived for the moment when HE came over to make his tea. Choose me, choose me she willed, as after selecting his favourite mug, his hand would hover over the cutlery drawer. She was, by far, the most beautiful of the teaspoons, but sometimes he was distracted and picked one unworthy of him. Now there were only three teaspoons left, the others having been pushed behind the back of the drawer and having fallen to the depths of a cutlery afterlife, were destined to moulder unloved forever.

She rubbed herself on a kitchen towel to make sure she gleamed so he would pick HER. He was always in early, one of the first, so she had a good chance. She dreamed of the moment his warm fingers caressed her body, lifted her up and placed her into the sugar bowl. Her nakedness covered momentarily by a powdery mountain and then, as quickly, he unclothed her as the sugar slid into the hot tea. When he plunged her into the mug she was shocked, burned and then warmth spread through her body as he stirred her round and round. Dizzy with joy, she let all thoughts go, and then he withdrew her. Sometimes she rested, spent on the saucer next to his teacup. Once, gloriously, he had used her again to pick out a bit of biscuit that had fallen into his tea and she had entered his mouth, but she was so overcome with that memory she couldn’t think about it.

Sukaina Walji

I am many

I am many sided faces. An oddity.
Which one you find depends on how you approach.

A wet winter, tears of waterfalls gushing down,
to melt into larger pool of sadness.

The fog comes over, covering me,
you look, straining to see curves and outlines.

A fire of anger leaves me burnt and gasping,
I rise from my knees and wipe away the rage.

Spring, tears dry and colours shoot up,
a necklace of daisy jewels, a pair of bluebell shoes.

The fog lifts, I emerge from shadow to light.
Sukaina. Instantly recognisable, a precious oddity

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]