24 December 2014
from Skellig, chapter twenty-five (David Almond)
The wires and the tubes were in her again. The glass case was shut. She didn't move. She was wrapped in white. Her hair was fluffy, dead straight and dark. I wanted to touch it, and to touch her skin, feel it soft against my fingertips. Her little hands were clenched tight on either side of her head. We said nothing. I listened to the drone of the city outside, to the clatter of the hospital. I heard my own breathing, the scared quick breathing of my parents at my side. I heard them sniffing back their tears. I went on listening. I listened through all these noises, until I heard the baby, the gentle squeaking of her breath, tiny and distant as if it came from a different world. I closed my eyes and went on listening and listening. I listened deeper, until I believed I heard her beating heart. I told myself that if I listened hard enough her breathing and the beating of her heart would never be able to stop.