Nothing but crickets and the calm waves breaking sounded in the dead of the night. The waning gibbous moon and its tiny companions among it reflected onto the abandoned lake with the wind creating a rippled reflection. A perfect, peaceful atmosphere was displayed.
Suddenly, the small body of a baby washed onto the rocks on the shallows of the lake. Its umbilical cord still freshly attached and on display, as the baby bore no clothes on its back. No wails sounded from the infant at all but somehow, it’s eyes were wide open as it moved its dainty limbs around, and took in the serenity of its surroundings. Clearly the child was a newborn… but who did it belong to?
Movements in the water stirred unseen attention as the top of someone’s head suddenly rose from the water. She rapidly lifted her head up to the sky as she coughed up the minimal water she’d inhaled. She dove back down and dragged another unconscious body out of the water, setting it a few feet away from the baby she’d completely forgotten about.
She saw that the other woman was unmoving and immediately practiced CPR while tears streamed down her face. After what seemed like forever, the unconscious woman coughed up ample amount of water all the while trying to catch her breath. Feeling like she was suffocating she hoarsely said to the other woman, “Baby”
The lady who revived her frowned at her words as panic took over. The woman’s stomach was still swollen but when she felt her stomach for any signs of a foetus, she got none. The woman kept coughing up water violently to no end until she suddenly fell silent, raising the other lady’s attention even more.
“Ilina?... Ilina!”, the lady called, but no response. Tears rimmed the woman’s eyes as she attempted to wake the once again unconscious woman’s figure. A baby’s loud cry brought her out of her misery. Her head shot up and she quickly wiped her unshed tears, and looked around for the source of the cries.
Her eyes fell on the dainty forearm-length figure on the ground a few feet beside them. She rushed to the child’s aid and cradled it in her arms, in attempt to comfort it. Once it calmed down she moved back to Ilina and tried to shake her awake with one hand, while cradling the darling child in her other arm.
“Ilina”, she called between sobs, “Ilina wake up, please. Your baby, your daughter. You had a girl”, she sniffed and continued, “please honey”
She pleaded and pleaded with no avail. Snot and tears embellished her face, unknown whether it was because she was soaking wet and hypothermia was kicking in, or the fact that her sister laid dead on the knee-grazing rocks of the lake’s shore —with a baby she had no clue how to take care of.
She looked down at the now cooing little infant that still laid in her arms. It’s reddish-brown eyes looked into her red rims and for a moment —just for a moment — she saw a glimmer of love in its eyes until they closed again. She took off the pink, wet, silk dupatta from her unconscious sister’s head and wringed it dry, then carefully wrapped it around the baby to create some sort of warmth for her.
She got up and her feet unconsciously started taking her towards the bridge they’d crashed over earlier into the lake. There was no car in sight. She stopped for a second and looked back at her sister who laid lifeless on the ground. Pain washed over her seeing that she couldn’t get her aided so she could meet her child.
She looked back to the sleeping child in her arms and tears with a questionable origin formed in her eyes once more.
“Hmm. What shall I name you?”, she rhetorically asked the child. She looked towards the sky at the stars that shone bright and the moon that mothered them. She closed her eyes and a flashback washed over her.
“So… what are you gonna name this child?”
Ilina looked towards the sky as though pondering over it. “I don’t know. If it’s a boy, I think Oliver. A girl… mmm… the first thing I see after looking at her.”
“What if it’s the hospital lamp?”, her sister challenged as she chuckled.
“Then she shall be named light, obviously in a language that makes it sound better.”
“What if it’s the ceiling”
“What if it’s me?”
Ilina smiled and gave a little chuckle. “Then you’ll have to name her. ”
She reopened her eyes and a miraculous constellation formed before her eyes—love. She looked down at the child and a smile formed onto her face. “Constellation.” She said, “I shall name you constellation. Your mother might haunt me for it though.” She chuckled and leaned in to kiss the infant whom opened her eyes revealing an odd glint of approval in her eyes.
The thing they’d been so deprived of in the past. The woman swore to love and protect her sister’s child from any and all threats. She swore to protect her own heart from the painful thing called love Ilina endured. Ilina was the only person she’d ever loved wholeheartedly. Now that she was gone, she was determined to never let her sister’s love be replaced by another, other than her sister’s child.
A storm suddenly reproached and thunder struck in the dead of the night