MANTELPIECE

THE BIRTH

It all began on the evening of the Queen’s Jubilee and twenty four hours later I was hurtling down a hospital corridor in a wheelchair, tipped into bed, whereupon I slept. Day was breaking and the curtains moved. A nurse came in with a green cup and saucer. She placed it on my table, “Mrs Trotter, I’ve brought you a cup of tea and your baby.” She wheeled in a see-through container and drew the curtain.

My baby…. I was fully prepared, warned I may not feel anything. Before me was this baby with large blue eyes staring at me. Her crooked finger was pointed up against her face, as if saying to me, ‘this way up’. We stared at each other for a long time. I suddenly had this desire to pick her up but I’d never done anything like this before. Should I ask first? But then I thought, of course I can hold her. I am her mother. I picked her up and put her in my lap. I reached out and  took the cup in my hands and sipped. It tasted like nectar.