The dark clouds seemed threatening, but the lighter ones were more powerful and drove them back. Heaven’s fighters above me fought with swords and spears while childlike angels, wearing only white cloths around their hips, beat their wings, watching the battle.
Like so many times before, I lay on the carpet in the living room, staring at the ceiling. My arms were folded behind my head, my legs lay crosswise and my eyes thoughtfully looked at the ceiling fresco. After what happened last night, I did not sleep very much. After I had a shower, I got dressed and came here to think. A strange feeling of emptiness had overcome me. It was the same emptiness I had felt right after my daughter’s birth. I could remember very little of what had happened in those moments. It almost was as if someone had pulled the plug at some point. I was missing a certain period of time. But I remembered well the last few weeks of my pregnancy. At this thought, I put a hand on my belly, which was now flat again. Not too long ago it had been perfectly round and my baby had grown in it. Back then, I had moaned a lot, because I just felt fat. I even hadn’t been able to see my own feet! I had felt like a waddling barrel. The Father had put up with my howling the whole time and had assured me, I would be as beautiful as ever. Then he had made me stand in front of the mirror and had named all the things he loved about me. He had been so kind, sweet and understanding, even when I had given him a kick in the backside, because we hadn’t had any more cocoa, which I had liked so much in the last few weeks of my pregnancy. I really would have liked to drink it all the time. And if we had run out of cocoa, I had cursed like a construction worker. But Father Michael had told me too much sugar wouldn’t be good for the baby. I had believed him, but couldn’t pull myself together and so I had gone to the kitchen in the middle of the night very often. Several times, the Padre had caught me, standing in front of the fridge with a bottle of chocolate milk in my hand. Today, I still could see him standing at the door with folded arms, a raised eyebrow and his mouth twisted with disapproval. And what had I done? I had smiled, innocently, shrugged my shoulders and wiped off the milk of my upper lip. At this memory, I grinned, because it was one of those beautiful memories. Unfortunately, it was very close to the less beautiful ones, such as the contractions. When they had started, I hadn’t known what happened and I had gotten scared. But Father Michael had been with me. His presence had a calming effect on me. He had talked to me softly and had held my hand. But this was where my memories ended, abruptly. The next thing I could think of, was the moment I woke up and demanding my daughter. I also could remember very well, that Father Michael hadn’t granted my wish. Then he had locked me up in my room for days. Now, I realized how differently he had acted in these two situations. At first, he had been the gentle and loving partner, a woman needs by her side. But then he had become an emotionally cold and merciless man, who had preferred to lock me up and had only one thing on his mind: to make sure the huntress fulfills her destiny, while I could only think of that I didn’t exist for my child and was dead to my family. I wasn’t even worth to be mentioned on my father’s tombstone! Sometimes, I wondered whether or not I was still there. Had I ever been there? Maybe, I just imagined everything. Maybe, I have been in a coma since twenty years and was dreaming? Before my cemetery walk I had gone through some real lows because of my daughter. But mostly, I had managed to push those thoughts aside and to hide the pain from the world and the Father. I didn’t want him to see me like that. He should believe that I was fine. So, I thought in silence, blamed myself and reveled in self-pity, without him knowing. But since last night I wasn’t able to do that anymore. The loss of my child and the discovery of my father’s grave overwhelmed me. All of this almost paralyzed me. Unfortunately, Father Michael interrupted my depressive fit. He always looked after me. I was annoyed with myself, because he found me in a mood I didn’t want to be found in.
“There you are! I’ve been looking for you everywhere,” he said and entered the living room.
I heard his steps echo through the room, as he came over to me. I felt his eyes on me as he watched me closely. “What are you doing?” he asked.
I didn’t answer him and just looked at the ceiling. Father Michael just made “Mhh” like he does so often. Suddenly, the material of his cassock rustled as he lay down next to me. He stared up to the angels at the ceiling, too, and tried to figure out what was there that captivated me so much. For a few moments, we remained silent and just lay there.
“Ada?” he whispered into my ear. Again, I felt his eyes on me. “Ada?” he said my name again. He sounded worried and alarmed. He turned and lay on his side. Propped on his elbow, he could look at me.
Stubbornly, I avoided to look at him. Instead, I turned my eyes to the ceiling. “Did I already mention that my family didn’t even want my name to be engraved on the tombstone?” I asked. From the corner of my eye, I saw him shaking his head. I nodded. “Do you know, what is the meanest part of that? I didn’t even mean enough to them to be engraved on a tombstone,” I said bitterly and again asked myself, whether or not they hated me that much. I was choked and it hurt to swallow.
“But what makes me even sadder is, that my own child probably thinks, I’m dead. For her, I don’t exist,” I continued and felt the tears rising. I quickly closed my eyes and bit my lower lip.
“Ada,” the Father whispered next to me, sounding sad. He put a hand on my cheek.
“I feel ashamed, because I do not know what her face looks like. Not even that I know about her.” I lost my voice. The tears won the battle. They ran out of the corners of my eyes, over my skin and fell onto the carpet and Father Michael’s hand, which was still lying on my cheek. “Sometimes, I dream of her, but she doesn’t have a face. It scares me so much, that I wake up soaked in sweat and with my heart beating wildly.”
“I’m so sorry,” the Father said softly. It was difficult for him to speak, too, now that he knew of my gloomy thoughts. But I could only smile wearily at his words. It didn’t mean anything. I know he hadn’t done it out of spite. He had to do it and he certainly knew that it would have been even harder for me to let my child go, if I had seen and held her in my arms. But instead of that, I had seen nothing of her, neither her face nor her small hand. I pushed away Father Michael’s hand, so I could wipe away the tears. Then I looked at him and asked: “Please, can you describe her, Michael? What did she look like?” Full of expectation, I looked at him.