Invisible Twin by Steve Goodlad

At the hospital, I’m the bad news. My sister however is already born, encased in a Perspex bubble, grasping on to life. But she will grow, laugh, cry and mourn for something missing that she cannot touch.

The room is still furtive. Two scenes unfold either side of a curtain which divides mum. I sense her near to me, as close as we’ll ever be, trying desperately to hold on. Dad is crying, holding her hand, whispering into her ear. He sees no response in her expression.

Over the curtain, a doctor is asking for the specialist consultant. He’s out of his depth. Sweat pours off his brow.

“This won’t end well.” He’s trying to keep the panic out of his voice. The masked nurse beside him, her eyes wide as she sucks up more blood than she’s ever seen, from inside mum would like to reassure but can’t. The anaesthetist checks the monitors adding further anxiety.

“It’s baby or mum, I need to decide or I lose them both.”

Dad hears and calls out; “God, not Jean. I can’t raise two on my own.”

The doctor looks at him briefly, sorry that he’d voiced his concern, but it’s made his decision for him. There’s a clamp around my neck and I am roughly removed, all concern for my welfare now lifted. I am carrion for all they care now.

Our bond is weakened. I am released from mum’s orbit and am alone in a vast nothingness. It’s the wrong decision and she’ll never forgive him. The scar on her belly will heal as will her love for him but both wounds will always be visible. She will never forget the brief moment we shared together and, in her heart, there will be a space for me.

Selected: Weekly Write Week #17
Published in Issue #30

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