Monday, April 10, 2006

Little Life

The walls are gray at the hospital. And the corridors long and never ending. Doctors and nurses in coats of white rush around with expressionless faces and forced smiles. Another appointment, another long wait in the waiting room filled with magazines and latest fashion tips for the modern woman. But the wait was worth it.

The black and white image of the echograph appeared on the screen in front. Like an abstract Picasso at first, it was difficult to make out what it was. As the doctor moved the stick around on the bloated belly of my friend, the image on the screen flowed and changed shape like raindrops on a window. And there it was…or rather, there he was. A big head, a silhouette of the side of his head, with visible round cheeks, button nose, pouted little lips. He moved his head in little movements, and his fingers were equally little. As we spied on him, I wondered whether he knew someone was watching him, admiring him. For he was beautiful, so little and fragile, yet so full of life. I wondered whether he realised that we know his like of sucking on his little thumb. I wondered whether he knew that that cord brushing against his little face was the lifeline connecting him with his mother, a cord that will soon be cut, but never, even after birth, be severed. A little life, in its purest and most innocent form, bathed in a pool of warmth and in the embrace of a mother’s insides.

The doctor moved the echo stick around a bit more. And a thumping, pumping device came into view. It contracted and expanded, with regular and precise motion. Immediately I realised it was the little heart of the little baby. But as I watched the ventricles open and close, frown and release again, I was memorised by it. Such power, such determination! And this all from a being so small. Everything seems to be well. His life signs, his organ development, and activities are healthy and vibrant. In fact a little too well, as the 32 week old baby is a little overweight. But no matter, for soon he will greet the world, and see the first rays of the sun, after which he has been named.

Outside, it has not been so sunny. Already one week in Strasbourg, and it’s been rainy almost every single day. When the rain left, dense gray clouds stuffed the skies. And though leaves are beginning to shoot on the ends of barren branches, and swans already readying their nests for the new-coming brood, the weather is still chilly, and wet.

But sunny days will come soon. That I’m sure of.

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