Chapter Twenty Two
The morning light filters across the room. I remember waking to find Florence feeding the baby in the early hours. Turning my head, I find the baby asleep. Curled into my chest, hesitantly I let my finger brush lightly through his soft hair. His little lips pucker as he snuggles tighter to me. Naomi had explained he needed my smell to thrive, go figure.
The wound in my side has healed, leaving a peppering of small scars. A constant reminder of what a failure I am. With a tired sigh I pull the quilt up and close my eyes. Sleep is the only way to forget, to block it all out.
Crying wakes, me, that and his gentle wriggling as he demands to be fed again. Pushing up I hold him to me as he snuffles into my neck looking for food. I reach for the bottle that always appears when I sleep like magic. I smile at the absurd thought as I test the bottle before pushing it against his mouth.
Once he is changed and, in his crib, I lay on the bed. I don’t want to leave this room. A tray is sat on the bedside table I peer at it and then pick at the food on the plate not really hungry. I startle as the door opens and she walks in. Her eyes travel the room and then stop on me. A frown creases her brow as she studies me her arms crossed.
‘Right you that’s enough wallowing time you learnt how to defend yourself,’
‘Get lost I don’t want any part of your stupid plan,’ I snarl she has been harassing me for days now.
‘Unlucky,’ with that she pulls away the blanket I am hiding under.
‘What the hell,’ jumping to my feet I lunge at her.
‘There it is,’ she dances out my way.
‘There what is,’ I shout angry beyond rational thought.
‘The fire,’ she laughs, bloody laughs and I charge at her again pushing her on to the bed pinning her down with my body. With ease she flips us pinning my hands above my head. I wriggle to get free unfortunately that causes another reaction one I certainly don’t want. ‘Oh, Aaron aren’t you full of surprises,’ she chuckles and rubs me some more.
‘Stop, please just stop,’ and I burst into tears. She leaps off me like a scolded cat and then gathers me to her.
‘Sorry, I am so sorry,’ she soothes as I sob all the grief pouring out. Pushing away I move away from her. Wiping my eyes with my hand. I climb to my feet and walk to the door pulling it open.
‘Can you go please,’ I say my voice strong considering I have humiliated myself without even trying.
‘Why are you doing this,’ she looks at me and I see with a clarity I haven’t had for weeks. She doesn’t understand.
‘Leave me alone, I don’t need your missed placed sympathy thank you,’
‘Aaron, you need to leave this room care for your baby son properly,’ her eyes rest on me her face full of sympathy. ‘He needs a father who is strong,’
‘No, he doesn’t, and I don’t want him. I don’t want to see him in fact every time I hear him cry, I die a little more inside. I had to cut him from her dead body, mutilate the person I loved more than life itself and I will never get that image out of my head ever. Now leave me alone…please and take him with you,’ my voice cold as I turn away from her waiting for the door to close indicating she has gone.
‘No Aaron I can’t do that,’
‘Yes, you can don’t you get it I want to die. Every day I hope no I pray I won’t wake up ever,’ I am shouting now as the tears roll down my face. ‘I didn’t want this I was actually looking forward to the day I turned twenty and they euthanised me. Then she came and she made me love her and I suddenly had a future I thought I would never have. Now she is gone, and I don’t know what to do with all this emotion inside me,’ I sink to the floor exhausted as I bury my head in my hands.
‘Oh, Aaron no,’ she holds me tight as I rock with the black hole of grief that is consuming me. ‘He needs you and you and I both know if Rita were here, she would slap you for turning your back on him. Her last breath was to beg you to save him. You are betraying her last wish,’ with that she climbed to her feet. I didn’t even get up as the door banged shut.
My life changed after that. No bottle or food came I had to go and fetch it myself. Oddly I never came across anyone. It is like they hear him cry and leave the building. Deep down I am so grateful. I don’t want to have to observe the social niceties.
Baby is the image of me not like Charlie at all as he was all Rita. Small and delicate already I can see he will be pretty like me. A blessing in one way but not in another as he gets sick and Doctor Naomi has to monitor him frequently. The bond that had always been there reinforced to the extent I became anxious when he was away from me for long periods.