'I can't stop thinking of all the things I should've done that I never did, all the things I should've said that I never said' - Kate Bush
Sylvia quotes softly to me.
"Don't think like that, you've become what you wanted the most, to become a mum, that has to be enough" I say holding back useless tears. I thought by now they would've ran out, god knows I've shed so many over the last 24 hours, I'm not sure I have any more fluid left. "Will you except the chemo now the baby is here? Do it for him sis" I ask her knowing how stubborn she is. "I can't Marcella, I don't want to miss a second of his life, I need to be here in the moment not drugged up." I take a deep sigh just as the nurse pushes in a plastic baby crib with our little wrapped man in it. Sylvia straightens up ready for me to hand him to her. I make them both comfortable then leave the room giving her a minute. "She's very brave" an elderly nurse says noticing me leaning up against the wall. "I'm not sure if I'm brave enough but." She puts her hand on my cheek tenderly "you will have to be, for both of them." Stupid tears well ready to run down my cheeks. I'm not sure what to think anymore. I didn't think I would be faced with such a predicament at this young age. I never thought I'd be losing my sister by just twenty years of age. I never thought I would instantly become a carer. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle all of this. I wipe away my sorrow, put on my tough brave face before I turn back around and head back into Sylvia's room.
"Will you try and find Kian and let him know" she says looking up at me sadly. "I'm not sure he would welcome a little baby into the gang somehow Syl" I said half joking not really enthusiastic about finding some bikie she use to hang around with. "I looked for him you know, when I first found out I was pregnant. I went to the town I knew he lived in and I saw him crossing the street with a woman and a kid, I didn't want to interfere, maybe I shouldn't of just assumed the worst. Now his son is here in my arms and I think he should know." "Did he know you had cancer?" She turns and looks out the window, not facing me. "I never told him, but honestly there wasn't much anyone could do hey? I was wild and careless Marcy, I made it impossible for him to keep up with me, I was good at that and I couldn't stand a pity party just for me" she says. "You should've let him stick around incase there had been something he could've done. He could've been here for the baby Sylvia, that's being selfish on your behalf you know" I snap at her. The room falls silent. I pull the blanket away from Harley's little face and smile. I don't want to argue with her, the damage is done now. "Don't tell me you named him because you loved that boys motorbike" I say jokingly. Our eyes meet, now hers well with tears. "He was a really nice boy Marcella, and I know he loved me. I wish you had hug with us, got to know him, then you would of seen what I did." "I was too busy being the studious nerd, I bet he didn't even know you had a twin sister." I keep looking at her dead in the eye. "He didn't hardly know anything about my family, I was...it was wrong, sneaking around like we did, will you make sure Harley never does that, make sure you get to know any women he falls in love with." I go and stand looking out the window before I answer her. "You can make sure yourself if you would just accept the chemo they're offering you, now Harley is here, please Sylvia, I can't do this without you" I plead with her. She just looks back down at the baby and shakes her head in the 'no' gesture. "I trust you and only you with him Marcella...I love you and totally respect what your thinking but this is what I want, I didn't get much choice in having cancer but I can have a choice in how I handle it, and I don't want to be drugged up." I don't answer her and if I don't go for a walk I'll crack, so I storm out of the room.
"NO, NO, NO...she was fine an hour ago. What happened in this last hour?" I scream fighting to get into her room. "Where's Harley?" I say holding my face in my hands. The elderly nurse from before holds me tight. "Harley is safe in the nursery. I went in to check on her, she had tucked herself down into bed with the baby, it looks like she just fell to sleep...we've left her exactly how we found her so you can say goodbye." I sob into her shoulder. "I can't" I mumble. She leans back and holds my face with her hands. "You can and you will, no regrets Marcella...do what you have to do or you'll continually look back and wish you had said things you never said. You didn't know it but you were that girls anchor." I swallow down all the anxiety, all the misery I feel. The lady standing in front of me hands me a tissue and a gentle smile, her eyes telling me it will be okay. She opens the door for me, rubbing my back as I walk into the room. I'm shocked at how peaceful Sylvia looks. It's the most beautiful look she has had for a long time now. Since breaking up with Kian, fighting the cancer battle and trying to keep well for the baby her usual happy face had disappeared sadly. Her bleached blonde hair falls across the pillow, I know what her bright blue eyes look like behind those lids, because they were exactly the same colour as mine. Her skin was blemished and blotchy, even slightly leathery from all the time she spent in the sun tanning, unlike mine which stayed pure and white, another nerdy trait I carried. She was thin before the cancer she was never curvy like me then before the baby was born she was absolutely just all baby. But now it seemed like her frail sick body blended into the white hospital sheets, thin and pale. I don't know what to say to her. What do I promise her? I hold her hand.
"I'll love and care for Harley like he's mine Syl. I'll try and find Kian, maybe when Harley is a bit older. I hope you come visit me, especially when I need you the most, please send me a sign, anything Sylvia...stop the clock ticking I know how much that annoyed you or leave a shoe in my way, you could never put away your shoes after you tore them off, nothing spooky just something to remind me okay. I will always love you."
'I never thought I'd lose you, I never thought that you might need an anchor' - Tame Impala
I whisper to her as I lean over and kiss her forehead, I take my last smell of her and walk away. The next day I go back to the hospital to pick up Harley. This is when my life began.
'And I don't believe in the existence of angels, but looking at you I wonder if that's true' - Nick Cave
I say to myself looking down at the baby I'm holding.
"She's beautiful, just like her mother" Nurse Joan says to me. The same nurse that held me when Sylvia passed away that day. The same nurse that told both Sylvia and I how handsome Harley was, so beautiful just like his mother and auntie. The same person that just held my hand whilst I myself gave birth. The same nurse that has been my saviour all these years. Joan encouraged me to continue with my studies to become a nurse, she has been there to help raise Harley, she's been there while my relationship fell apart around me. "I have a little man being amused by the girls outside waiting to meet his sister Marcella, are you ready?" I smile just thinking about his face when he gets to see Daisy. "Yeah, send him in, I can't wait to see him." Harley races in instantly climbing up on the bed, throwing his little body over mine nearly squishing the baby. I pull him to my side so he can see her tiny face. "This is Daisy little man, she is your sister, do you want to kiss her?" He doesn't answer just gently pulls her head towards his lips. "I have to leave you two, we have an emergency down the hall" Joan says looking at her beeper. I smile, she knows I'll be okay, she always did. I make Harley more comfortable turning the t.v. above our head to the cartoon channel making him instantly still. I look out the window watching the trees sway back and forth. A small bird lands on the window sill looking in at us. I instantly feel like Sylvia's presence is near. Looking back down at Daisy at her perfection, I look back at the bird and smile, reassured that someone is watching over me.
'Lightning crashes, an old mother dies, her intentions fall to the floor, The angel closes her eyes, the confusion that was hers belongs now to the baby down the hall' - Live.
"Do you believe in Angels Joan?" I say later that evening when she finally gets to see me again. Both Harley and Daisy are sleeping either side of my body. "Today we lost a mother around the same time Daisy was born. She was a beautiful woman Marcella, I'd like to think that her spirit is now been given to Daisy, just like Harley has Sylvia's, it just seems to happen like that some times" she says picking up Harley holding his sleepy body to hers. "Do you think we find out these things once we've crossed over? I mean do you think Sylvia see's me?" I say sounding like a curious little girl. "Yes I think she guides you." "She did a bad job at guiding me to James" I say unsure of myself. "But look what he gave you after all his abusive nastiness Marcy, it's like you've been given a gift for putting up with him" she says gently stroking Daisy's head. "I'm going to have to leave this town aren't I? I can't have him around the kids." Joan hangs her head knowing what I'm saying will be the only way to survive, getting far away from James for good. "We can talk about this tomorrow, I'll take little man home, you have a quiet night hopefully" she says knowing my chances are zilch. She kisses me on my forehead, smiling at me. I swear she's my guardian angel.
The next day Joan comes in with Harley, setting up with some colouring books then looking at me upset. I sit up straight knowing whatever she's going to tell me isn't going to be good. "James left 4 suitcases outside my door, I think it's his way of letting you know he's moved you out" she says angrily. "What a bastard! That was my place to start with...shit Joan, where am I going to go?" I'm sort of glad he's moved me out, it was one of my dreads having to face him again, especially after the last time he spoke to me he told me he wishes the baby die's or even better we both die whilst I'm giving birth. He had his own place so I had my locks changed but somehow he's managed to get inside and move himself in just in the one day I wasn't around. I'm not sure what I ever saw in him, Joan warned me but I didn't listen. "Marcella, I thought about it all night. I have a cousin, Margaret, who lives a couple of hours from here with a big empty house who would love to help you out. I took the liberty of ringing her this morning, she wants to help, she's been a victim of abuse, she knows how to handle these things better than I." I wiggle myself down the bed wanting to pull the sheets over my head and hide for a while. How did I get myself into this predicament? I always seem to come out the loser. Suddenly the sheet is being pulled down from my head. "I want you to take my car and leave this place Marcella. It only brings you sad memories. It's time you pulled up the anchor before you become a ship to wreck. Go and make a home for yourself and the kids, one that is yours, not your sisters or your abusive ex-boyfriends, yours." I just nod, I know she is right. I've been living for the past, living someone else's life, living for my sister, it's time I live for me now.
The next day Joan delivers her car, decked out with baby car-seats, all the suitcases and an address. "What am I going to do without you Joan" I say as I hold her tight. "I'm thinking about retirement, Margaret has been trying to get me to move in with her for some time now, give me a couple of months and before you know it I'll be there. I love you like you were my own daughter Marcella." She kisses me on the forehead and makes me get into the car. I wind down the window looking up at her "I love you too Joan, like I loved my mother." We both smile before I drive away. I've never been very far from the little town I've just drove away from. Our parents had us girls later in life via a test-tube, so by the time we had become adventurous they seemed too elderly. I stayed at home being the good little girl while Sylvia roamed. I use to be envious when she would sneak out at night, riding off on Kian's harley, coming home in the early hours of the morning. She would struggle at school because of it, only to have me do her homework, enough just to get her thru school. She never invited me to join her, she always just took everything for granted. Maybe it was her way of protecting me from the big bad world, who knows? I glance at Harley in my review mirror. She even left me him knowing I would do right by her. I take a deep breathe, a new adventure is on the horizon for me hopefully.
'Take these broken wings and learn to fly, You were only waiting for this moment to arise' - The Beatles.
"Marcy your needed in room 24, I'm sure that guy is crushing on you gorgeous, go make his day a little brighter" Melissa says as she whacks my butt. "Do I have to? His hand goes straight under the covers down below the minute I walk in the room, it's getting gross" I say as I try and get out of her way. Melissa is my senior but just a couple years older than me here in the hospital. She is a great friend out of work, and a great boss whilst we're here. My kids are now 5 and 2, Joan did retire and set up a family daycare along with Margaret at our home, so I never have to worry about shitty shifts, she has enabled me to have a life and for that I'm am indebted to her. The hospital I got a job at is way bigger than the one back home, so we're kept busier, this a god-send because I'm not one for sitting around. I've had a little taster of most wards here, enjoying the general wards the most, getting a variety of people to talk to, fix up and send back home, making me happy. My other friend Lilly, is the hospitals social worker, who has been around to help me thru the tough times. I don't like to say tough times because I know I have it easier than a lot of women, but over the past couple of years James has made it clear via Joan that he isn't happy I took the child (which he didn't want) so far away. He hasn't done anything malice only verbally threatened me, he only knows the city I live in, no other details. So I made sure everyone knows me as Marcy, I keep my hair darker than it was, and have learnt to keep behind the protective wall especially around men, just in case.
Before I go in to sort out the old guy who gets off seeing me in room 24 I stand and watch an interview on the morning news about a story on abused women and children. The young pretty news report fills us in on the statistics, how domestic violence is mostly un-noticed, showing us photo's taken by police for court cases. I'm familiar with these injuries, with most women coming thru our wards blaming a cupboard or their own clumsiness. Then she tells us about a gang of bikers who have formed an alliance with the police, to be available for protection and support. My legs nearly crumble beneath me when she holds the micro-phone in front of the next persons face. Kian Sloane. "You look like you've just seen a ghost" Melissa says over my shoulder. I look at her then back at the t.v. "That's not him is it?" I look back at her. "Who?" "Daisy's dad" she says. "NO, god no. He's just someone from my past, I've never seen him up close like this." Melissa stops what's she doing and looks at the t.v. "now that's one good looking hunk of meat, when can you introduce us?" hitting me on the butt again cheekily. "You don't want to meet him believe me Mel." "What sort of history have you got with him then to assume I don't like such a man?" she says turning before she walks down the hall. I shrug my shoulders. Honestly I have no reason to judge him. She is waiting for my answer. "None I suppose, just being judgemental." "Because he rides a Harley?" "Yeah, probably" I answer embarrassed. She smiles as she walks away.
I look back up at the t.v. looking at Kian. They are being interviewed out doors, looks like outside a court house. The sun is shining behind him lighting up his body making him look slightly angelic. He is happy, smiling and joking with the reporter, probably flirting behind camera's no doubt. Another older biker comes and stands beside him, so she turns and asks him a few questions. I didn't get to hear the interview or what it was about so I mentally decide to make sure I watch it again tonight. I grab room 24's chart and head that way. Luckily the gross guy is asleep, so I sneak in, do my thing, and sneak out. After my rounds Lilly pages me to meet her in the canteen. "Oh my god did you see Kian Sloane this morning?" is the first thing she says. "Yeah, what was it all about?" "Well him and his gang, escort women and children to court, they've set up a couple of safety houses on their compound, they line the streets with themselves making the kids feel safe, get counselling arranged, anything to make the abused victim feel protected until the arsehole harassing them are put away." "Sounds very noble of them" I say sarcastically. "Shouldn't judge a book by its cover girl" she says back to me. I change the subject knowing perfectly well Lilly is right, so is Melissa. But neither of them know my history with Kian, not that there is much except I'm raising his child, which he has no idea about, and now I have the opportunity to finally tell him, but will I? I mean what can I say.
Just as I'm walking out the door later on that afternoon, 3 ambulances race towards the hospital. I hate that I feel like I should drop everything and join in the barrage of staff waiting but I have the kids at home, and I can't forget I need to stay healthy and not become a workaholic. So I quickly climb in my car and head home, passing the ambulances tearing down the street and wondering what has happened. When I get home I'm met with my usual very happy to see me kids, who have endeavoured to help with cooking dinner tonight, no doubt being a hindrance rather than a help. When we all sit down I can hear the t.v. has been left only to hear there has been a house fire with a few people injured. "That must be what was happening as I left today, a fire. I hope everyone is ok" I say to Joan who is sitting across from me. "It's a great burns unit in the hospital I'm sure you'll find they coped well when you go back in tomorrow." That night I put the kids to bed then gather my thoughts before I go to sleep. What advantages are there telling Kian about Harley? But I promised Sylvia. Maybe I should send him a letter. No, that's just rude. Maybe I should just turn up and surprise him so he doesn't have a chance to think about it, see his first reaction, that will give me a better idea of the sort of man he is. No, I'd hate that. I don't sleep well this night, having to face a very confusing day the following day with no probably more questions about my link to Kian.