‘I’m so sorry baby. I didn’t think… I didn’t want you to find out this way.’
Is that mummy? It has to be her. This voice… it is but… is she crying? I hope not. This will be the second time I’ve seen mummy cry. I don’t like mummy crying. I try to turn but there’s a sharp pain between my legs.
‘Shhh. Don’t worry baby. Don’t move. I’m here with you. Mummy is here with you.’
‘Mummy, my head hurts.’
I try to check if the puff puff is still there but mummy stops me.
‘I’ll make your favourite for you.’
My eyes go wide.
‘With the pieces of fish in it?’ I say moving back a little to look at her face.
‘Yes baby. With all the fish I can find in this house.’
I knew mummy would make me happy. Even though my body hurts all over, just being in her arms is enough for me. It’s all I need right now… that and the noodles with fish she promised to make.
My body feels weightless as mummy carries me in her arms. I wrap my arms around her neck and there a small puff puff growing behind her head. With one hand, I touch the one behind my head, my other hand on hers and I feel her flinch. Did I hurt her?
‘Mummy?’ I call shifting back, trying to see her face. I really hope I didn’t hurt her. I don’t want to see her cry anymore.
‘It’s fine baby. Don’t worry.’
I feel like a princess in mummy’s arms. She’s carrying me the same way I saw her carry eggs few weeks back when I was disturbing her. When I asked why, she said it’s because she didn’t want them to break. Does it mean she doesn’t want me to break?
She lays me gently on the bed. Her hands are all over my body. Mummy has never touched me this way before. It’s almost as if she’s truly scared I’ll break. I try to look at her eyes, her face still looks funny. It’s a darkish colour.
I lie still as mummy undresses me. It’s completely different from when daddy did it. The look in daddy’s eyes scared me. The one I see in mummy’s makes my tummy feel all warm and fuzzy. I love mummy.
After undressing me, I’m carried again, just like earlier but this time to the bathroom. She’s kneeling while I stand. I can see the top of her head. The water feels hot on my body. Mummy is quiet as she scrubs my body. Even the place that hurts me the most. For some reason, she stops scrubbing me and just bends down. I can’t see her face.
‘Mummy? Are you okay mummy?’
I get no reply and mummy doesn’t change her position. Did daddy do the same thing to mummy? Is that why she’s so sad?
‘I’m sorry mummy.’
‘Why? Why are you sorry baby?’
I’m happy that I can see her face once more.
‘It’s my fault. If I had picked a good hiding place then daddy wouldn’t have found us and…’
For as long as I can remember, mummy has never shouted at me. It frightened me. Will mummy hit me just like daddy did? Is she mad at me?
‘Don’t be mad at me mummy! I’m sorry!’
I never want mummy to be mad at me. Never! I feel her arms wrap around me and I stop crying.
‘No baby. I’m not mad at you. I love you, so very much.’
Mummy’s voice sounds a bit deeper than usual. Her hand is rubbing my head and she is even careful to avoid my ‘puff puff’. It calms me.
‘Then why did you shout at me?’
‘I’m mad, yes but not at you. I’m mad at daddy.’
I push away from her. ‘Daddy seemed very strange. What happened?’
Mummy turns her head away from me. It’s almost as though she doesn’t want me to look at her. My legs are wobbly. I think I’ve been standing for too long. Mummy catches me just before I fall. I’m so happy mummy is here with me.
‘Lola. Baby. I wanted to protect you. To shield you from the person daddy truly is for as long as I possibly could.’ Mummy said turning her face towards me. ‘I failed at this and it is my fault you hear. Mine, not yours. Don’t you ever blame yourself for this.’
I don’t really understand why but for some reason I nod my head. I feel that’s what I’m supposed to do. Mummy rests her forehead against mine and sighs.
‘If only things were different.’