Then the door opened and a candle was lit. She was suddenly aware that she was
trembling all over.
boy asleep?’ she heard the voice of the wife ask her mother.
She jumped up and looked at her husband, who was still sleeping soundly.
‘Yes, he is
sleeping.’ she said, before going up the stairs to her son’s room.
touched the boy’s arm, he jolted awake.
wrong, you are burning all over!’ he screamed.
She looked at his face and saw that the
pram had slipped from his limp and shaking hands. She scooped it up and brought
it down to him and he hugged it to him.
boy, what is this?’ she asked him, ‘My boy, what is this?’
When he came
into the room, he looked straight through her. She said nothing, she just
held him tightly and asked him what was wrong.
wrong with you boy?’ he asked her, ‘Are you all right?’
He looked down at the pram and held his head in his hands. He began to cry and she gently
took the pram down from his grasp, and sat him on her own lap and began
scratching his back. She rubbed his back hard with all her strength.
pram was slipping from my hands and my back armpits were burning, my back
feels all raw and red and stitched with bites, but my little son does not
want me to scratch him anymore. My little boy, what is wrong with you, what
is wrong with you?’ she asked him.
He started to cry and pull at her hair, ‘You
have ruined everything! You have ruined everything!’ he cried, ‘You have ruined
me. You have ruined us!’
‘No, I didn’t.
You did it all by yourself.’ she responded to him.
He stared at her, ‘You have ruined
everything.’ he shouted, ‘You have ruined everything!’ as he sobbed.
She looked at him in horror. The same night
before, she had given birth to him. For countless nights, she had nursed him
gently as he fell and fought, cried out in pain, and clawed at them to free
themselves of the bonds of his body. She had given him a name and a face, she
had given him a father and a mother. After that night, she had nursed him
tenderly, and had raised him as a baby, and taught him the ways of the world
alongside her. She had been the mother from the day he was born, and yet he
was so angry at her, at her love.
She held him against her, ‘No baby
baby, you did not ruin everything.’ she told him, ‘The doctors say they are
quite sorry this time, but next time, I will not nurse you.’
He wailed and screamed, ‘You have
ruined everything!’ he cried, ‘You have ruined everything!’
She held him closely, ‘You have
grown up and you will forget what I did, how I nursed you, raised you and
taught you the world. You will just grow up and forget everything.’
She was crying, still feeling his
tears fall on her shoulder, when suddenly a thought struck her.
remember what I did?’ she thought. The one thing that she did right…that
she did right, for she had given him a good name and a good face.
She held on to him tightly, as she
realized that he had only one thing to think about now, and that was his
father. Her son had come into the world because she, his father, had done
What would he think about, she
wondered, if he knew the truth…..if he knew the truth.
are all I have,’ he sobbed, ‘You have ruined everything!’ he screamed, ‘You
have ruined everything!’
As he cried and screamed, he
started to become more and more mad. He cried and screamed, he started to
sniffle and he pushed her away.
do that,’ she said to him, ‘Go upstairs and sleep.’
ruined me,’ he said, ‘You ruined me,’ and he spat on the ground.
you are my son and you will remember everything,’ she countered with her
began to shout again, ‘I will remember. I am your son and I am your pride.
You ruined me!’ he cried, ‘You ruined me!’ he screamed as he pulled away from
her. Then he ran upstairs.
She watched him go up the
stairs and when he reached the top of the stairs, he looked back down at her.
He stood up and turned and said, ‘Go and sleep.’
She watched him as he walked up the
stairs and then she walked out of the room. She had a lot of work to do in