Outside the Window
Outside the Window
I look outside the window. The sun beats softly on my face forcing my eyes to close and my skin to glow. I am at peace and my heart beats at a regular pace.
Suddenly, my skin goes cold and I feel the darkness hit my closed eyelids. I’m afraid to open my eyes, I’m afraid to see what is standing in front of me. I clench my hands together and press hard. My nails digging into the skin of the opposing hand. I draw a sharp breath, steel myself and open my eyes.
He’s there again, at the door, glaring at me. His little body is grey, his eyes are black , cold and lifeless. His short little legs bring him closer, taking tentative steps, his bare feet barely making a sound on the old wooden floors. My heart misses a beat as a loud sob escapes me.
“I’m sorry.” – my whisper is barely audible. “I didn’t mean for this to happen. Forgive me?” I plead. This cannot be happening, this cannot be happening again. Tears course freely down my cheeks and fall, ever purposefully, on my still clenched hands.
He stretches out his hand as though to touch my face. I can’t bear this. The torment creases my face into pure agony and my feelings betray me as I dig my nails ever deeper into the palms of my hands and I feel the warmth of my own urine spread on the cushion I am sitting on.
I turn to the window and open my eyes, hoping that this is all in my imagination. It’s like I’m waking from a bad dream, the sun is still bright, illuminating a day for all those outside enjoying its rays.
I look across the road. The playground is full of laughing, happy children, running around and squealing with delight as mothers and fathers gossip on the seats around the edges.
“Watch your children!” I want to scream at them. The shiny fences around the park are newly erected and of little comfort to me now. The springs of the gate still stiff and proudly new, reflecting and playing with the sun’s rays as it bounces back and forth across the faces of the passers-by, giving brief Morse code signals of their importance.
Too little too late. Far too little, far too late!
I draw another deep breath and wrap my arms around myself as though cuddling something soft and precious…like Teddy. Teddy lies next to me – his glassy, brown eyes staring into nothingness. The stuffing coming out of the tear on his shoulder that I never did get round to repairing. Teddy shall never again chase away another bad dream, never sit opposite his best friend and sip on an imaginary cup of tea and he will never again enjoy another movie night snuggled down in the arms of his pal.
I lift Teddy up to my nose and draw in the old familiar smell. I can feel the chill again so I open my eyes knowing that he will still be standing in front of me with those accusing, lifeless eyes. The sweat breaks out on my brow and I lift my hand to wipe it away but I am too slow. I feel the wetness flow over my brow and sting my eye. I rub my face anyway. Anything to keep my hand from reaching out to his little body.
My arms ache to have his warm, soft body in my arms again. My head pounds with the memories that flash through my mind and the guilt that has consumed my every fibre. It’s been three weeks. Three agonising weeks but he visits me every day. Every day he stands before me; those cold, lifeless eyes so out of place in his still-cherubic face, grey and pale despite the bright, nurturing sun.
I hear the screech of tyres from beyond the window. I suck in air and bile fills my mouth. I whip my head round to look out the window. The car has stopped and a blue ball with a big yellow star on it rolls across the road and stops dead against the pavement.
I slump down, my heart beating arhythmically in my ears. The car moves slowly forward and the sun bounces off the front of the windscreen and straight into my eyes. The glare has burnt the sun’s image into my retinas and I cannot see. I feel a hand on my shoulder, a little hand, a familiar hand. I try hard to focus my eyes but the blackness is all that I can see. The hand travels down my arm. The touch is cold and creepy and inhuman. I’m starting to panic now as I throw teddy across the room and try and flick the little hand off me.
“I’m sorry!” I scream. “I’m the worst mamma. I didn’t mean for it to happen, it wasn’t my fault! Please! Please forgive me!”. The little hand moves over my chest and presses flat against my heart. My head feels light, I cannot breathe but I can still feel my heartbeat sounding loudly in my ears. But beating slower and slower and I feel a warm rush come over my whole body. I think the sun must be shining on me.
Before I slump over and the darkness consumes me I take one last look out the window, glance across the road to the park and see him there. He’s waving at me with his beautiful boyish grin. He’s wearing his favourite dungarees and Teddy is nestled under his arm. Teddy will keep him safe.
“I’m sorry, my Angel, sleep tight!”