Amelia worked carefully – building the life she had always wanted and was rewarded by babies by the bed-full. They filled her mind and heart with their vigorous lives – not one the same as the next. Her heart was whole.
Her husband, Muhammad, was the kindest of men. He provided for her – bread on the table and love in her life. His nature never fell from poetry into casual indifference and she adored him for this.
So why did sorrow stalk her?
Tuesday began with sunshine against the curtains. Such a promising heat against her body as Amelia swept the material aside – eager to let the day begin. The rattle of milk bottles against each other and the thud of a newspaper on the mat was followed by boys’ laughter fading down the garden path and the rattle of the gate as it shut. Amelia watched their progress down the street.
A first, hesitant cry told her that her babies were waking. She shrugged on a dressing-gown, collar soft against her throat, swept her hair into a band and moved leisurely towards the other room. As she passed by the bed, a hand caught hers – warm and strong.
Laughing with the deep resonance that Muhammad always said he adored, Amelia allowed herself to be pulled down to the bed. She came to rest on the mounded duvet above his body and bent her lips to his.
The call from the other room doubled, then a third joined the chorus. Reluctantly Amelia pulled herself away from the warm promise of Muhammad’s arms and he, with a smile, kissed her fingertips and drew them down his cheek.
“Shush, shush, shush – Mommy’s here.”
Their mouths fell silent at the sound of her familiar voice. Gazing down at their chubby faces, Amelia felt a wave of love wash through her and then into their bodies – so helpless and yet so perfect – so full of promise. Her life was complete. She has everything she had ever wished for when growing up in the quiet suburban neighbourhood she still lived in.
So why did sadness watch her from the shadows of her mind?
An hour later, nappies changed, babies fed, Muhammad waved away into another day at the office, Amelia leant back into the embrace of the armchair and watched her brood. Crawling in their comical way, sucking anything they could fit into their mouths, burbling happily – it was another lovely day at the zoo.
Lulled by the comfort of the cushions and the sun, friendly against her face, Amelia closed her eyes for a moment. Just one single moment.
When she opened them, the silence registered first.
(concludes with Amelia (conclusion))