The ward glowed with summer sun, which burgeoned its way through the eight large double-glazed windows, casting a monochrome slide-show upon the nurse’s uniform as she left the room.
Martina stared at the tiny creature sharing her bed, her warmth, her very essence. Glee rose as she somehow inhaled the relentless tugging which reached down inside her, beyond atomic level, past the sub nucleic quarks to overwhelm the very spark of energy which had birthed her own existence. A smile spread across her exhausted features, an entity in itself over which she had no control. Tears spilled from eyes which strove to be spotlights, seeking to beam their indefinable surge of celebration through the insignificant ceiling out into the stars.
‘You okay, darling?’ There was a crack in Pat’s voice which connected on a subliminal level.
She reined in the laughter, which threatened to bolt, to a short canter. There were no words. ‘Yeah.’ An exclamation: gleefully, gratefully, sardonic.
‘Stupid question, right?’
She hadn’t the energy to nod, but felt her face splitting.
‘Thank God she took her looks from you.’ he offered awkwardly to the oppressive silence.
‘Mmmm!’ Weakly she reached for him. He stood and leaned over to kiss her.
In that instant they were linked, three bonded together in a way he knew they could never be again, yet never pulled apart. He felt a knot of jealously, suddenly infused with the knowledge that mother and daughter would share that feeling forever – as enduring for them as it was fleeting for him. Yet a deeper wisdom reassured him that his bond with his daughter would be just as strong. This tiny ugly being now embodied the lynchpin of connection with his wife, introducing a whole new level of love. Martina now was not only his friend and lover, but the mother of his child. There was sadness at the loss of their private passion, yet above and beyond was the whooping unbridled joy.
’She smells like Christmas.’ His voice quietly boomed indomitable pride.