It has been raining for quite a few days now, I was wondering if it was really winter, that rain must have been really cold then, not a lukewarm one from the early summer. I was bound to stay inside today and I cannot say that it bothered me since I could stay with her. She was pretty weak today and she couldn’t even find the strength to sit in a straight position to eat, I told her that she should just rest then, she could eat later and she somewhat fell asleep. I didn’t want to bother her so I left the room but I didn’t really know what to do, I didn’t want to venture outside since the rain was pretty violent and I thought I should stay here in case she needed my help, she was sound asleep but who knows? I went into the deskroom and found myself reading the manuscripts that the girl left behind, they weren’t really that interesting but they sure helped me to pass time. I would sometimes watch through the window, hoping that something unusual would happen so I’d have something special to tell her when she would wake up, I always dreamt of being the one that would tell her stories, I guess I was a bit jealous. To my light disappointment, nothing happened for a few hours, I felt like I could do something better than just spending my time like this, I began to wonder how the girl who lived here killed herself. I even started to regret a bit telling the archivist to not tell me, I should have known that my curiosity was greater than every fear I could have. I was a bit lost in my thoughts when some noise brought me back to the real world, I heard her moaning in her room. At first I thought that she was probably having one of those nightmares but I got worried when she started to make more noises. I went to see what was happening.
I found her sweating and curled up on the bed, she looked like she was experiencing quite a strong pain. I asked her what was wrong, and for a moment she sighed in relief, relaxing her whole body. She slowly turned her head and said to me that she had contractions, but she was fine now. I was about to ask her what she meant by contractions when I finally realized that the source of her pain was the child she had in her belly, it should have been obvious to me by now. I didn’t really know what to do about this so I went by her side and sat on a chair next to her bed and took her clenched fist in my hands. Every part of her body was burning hot, she probably had a high fever too, this wasn’t looking very good. I kept supporting her quietly for a few hours, I tried to talk with her about random topics so she could at least forget a bit about her pain but I’m not certain that it was effective. It led me to realize that I had no idea on how to proceed when a woman was giving birth to a child, was I supposed to do something? Well obviously I was, she couldn’t do everything on her own, I had to help her a lot but I still considered the idea of going to the town to get someone who knows better than I to help.
I was about to tell her that I would be right back with someone but she let out a cry that made me feel like my presence was needed right now. I made a quick sum of the time required to run to the town, convince somebody to come to my house under this heavy rain and then come back here with the person, that would be way too long. I couldn’t just leave her alone here even if it was for a short moment. I still asked her opinion even if she was in no position for giving arguments or whatever, she didn’t answer but the way she looked at me, I just couldn’t leave this chair. I knew she had a lot of trust in me, maybe even more that I did with myself right now but I couldn’t just let her down. I just stayed by her side, helpless… watching her experiencing the worst kind of physical pain a human could handle. She would something scream without a rest for a few long minutes but at some point, the pain was so intense that she passed out. I got worried sick when she stopped crying, I thought she died on me right at this moment. I shook her up but she wouldn’t move quite yet, I took her wrist and noticed that her heart was still beating. I was relieved but only after a few minutes she woke to the sharp and unbearable pain, it was even painful to watch and to know that I was being useless right now.
And somehow for the first time since she told me she would die soon, I realized what it would mean for me when she would. I always tried to just not think about it but now that I saw her twisting her weak and frail body to the excruciating pain, I couldn’t just remove it from my head. When I saw her passing out, I felt such a deep grief in my heart, I really thought she died and somehow one half of me just disappeared like it never existed, that wasn’t even something remotely close from a sorrow I would have lived before. I closed my eyes and wanted to take her in my arms but I couldn’t do that right now, she was in a pretty delicate situation and I could only stare at her being ripped apart from the inside and somewhat share a little bit of pain with her. She passed out a few more times, I was really at my limit of seeing her face, remembering that she always had such a beautiful smile on it, now being twisted by what she was living. A thought crossed my mind and I remembered my mother talking to me about my birth and how it happened, I wondered if my mother went through so much trouble for having me and how did my father react to this, was he as inflicted by sorrow and pain as I was right now? The answer was probably and most likely yes, they did so much for me and yet I left them without notice, we also went part right after a fight, how could have I done this to my parents? Would they ever want to see my face again?
I also remembered vaguely what my mother said the doctor that helped her to give birth to me had to do. I took the opportunity while she was unconscious to run to the kitchen to get a big cauldron and filled it with hot water, I also took warm clothes and came back, hoping that I would have came back before she woke up. I couldn’t even imagine how she would have felt if she woke up and I wouldn’t be there, she would probably have panicked. I held her hand again and she woke up at the same moment. She stared at me in the eyes, she didn’t scream, rather, she closed her eyes and tried to smile. It was a very weak smile, I knew that it took most of her strength to sketch such a smile, it looked a bit crooked too, yet it was the most beautiful and heart-warming smile I have ever seen. Not long after, the pain came back and it went on like this for hours, it felt like it would never end, like we would live the rest of our lives in this room, she would be singing her pain and I could only watch. It’s a bit like those nightmares when you witness something terrible but you cannot move or close your eyes to ignore it, yet it was unbearable. I thought I would pass out myself at some point.
Fortunately, after some hours of labor, something finally came out of it. Since I was the only that could do it, I went and tried to extract the child but I felt so clumsy and I also thought that I wasn’t doing it the good way, that was really infuriating. I somehow managed to do it anyways, it wasn’t really done in a classy way but I honestly think I did my best. I wrapped the newborn in a clean blanket and held it in my arms, my heart raced and my vision went blurry, I think that my eyes have watered too much. Once again she was right, it was a girl, a beautiful little girl that had a bright future ahead of her. I smiled while wiping my eyes and I was so happy that it was finally over, she wasn’t screaming anymore, all we could hear in the room was the little baby crying.
I went back next to her to tell her that she was right about the daughter thing, but she looked extenuated. I could understand what she just went through and since it was a really demanding physical activity her heart probably had difficulties following her needs. I started to worry a bit so I shook her to see if she passed out again. She opened her eyes slightly and smiled at me. I was more then happy to see that she was still alive but still, tears were uncontrollably flowing out of my eyes. I showed her the fruit of the nightmare she just had, and the nine months of having it in her belly. I told her that she did great and that our child was finally alive, she replied with simple words but she wasn’t smiling anymore, I think she was too tired to do it. I felt a bit bad about it but I thought I had to keep her awake, I wasn’t sure that going to sleep after feeling this amount of pain was the best thing to do. She opened her eyes again, and gathering all the strength and will she had left, she managed to tell me one last thing.
“Now it’s your turn to tell me a story, take care of her, I love you.” she said, almost whispering. This brought tears to my eyes, I wasn’t sure what she meant by that but somehow it meant a lot for me. She also murmured something like “Thank you for everything” but then she closed her eyes, I tried to shake her up again but she wasn’t moving anymore. I started panicking and yelling, hoping that she would wake up. In a last whim of hope, I took her right wrist and pressed lightly against it. There was no apparent sign of a pulse. As an ultimate attempt, I reached her chest with my free hand. My hand was shaking and I had a thousand different emotions that went through my mind. My hand made contact with her bare skin, it was still sweaty from all the pain she felt but yet her skin was terribly cold, I kept my hand here for about a minute or two… maybe ten… hoping to feel at least one heartbeat, that would have still gave me hope.
I was broken, I yelled in an ultimate cry of pain and depression, doing way more noise than the child I held in my arms would. My eyes went completely dark and I couldn’t see or think anymore. I placed our child in a straw basket with some blankets before going berserk or something. A few moments later, my mind went blank and I passed out.
I woke up the next morning, in my bed stained with blood and body fluids, cuddling with a frozen corpse, somehow hoping that this was all a dream, but dreams aren’t this convenient. The child was still crying so I guessed it was still alive at least. I took her in my arms and hugged her once again but it felt way different than usual, I cried again for some time that I couldn’t really evaluate, but I think that it was pretty long enough.
I didn’t feel like doing anything else at all, ever.