At the beginning of the birth Thome had gone outside of the house, he couldn’t take the screams of his wife. The night was starlit, an icy wind blew. Thome walked to the shed, found a safe spot and smoked.
The sea of reeds behind him swung wildly, the mighty swoosh almost drowned the screams, that were coming from the house. Never before had he heard such noises from a human being. As much as he tried to, he couldn’t associate them with his wife.
How was it possible that this tender being squeezed such screames out of herself.
He wanted to go even further away, to be definitively out of ear-shot, but then he was afraid, he may be needed still. Than he would have to be here and stand by his wife, however horrible it would be.
– It’s your child, he repeated constantly. It’s your child too.
The night seemed to be endless and Thome shivered. Nonetheless he remained on his spot and smoked.
It’s dead, it’s dead, it’s dead.
When Thome heard these words, he felt how the ground below him retreated. He kneeled down and slowly sank into the wet grass. The cigarette burned down between his fingers without him noticing the pain. He only felt how the dampness seeped through his clothes. He saw the saw blades in front of him and the eyes of the foreman wide open with horror. He could feel the man’s blood crackling against his body.
– I’m sorry, I’m sorry, Thome gabbled into the wet grass.
Then he heard the child scream.
– It’s a boy, the midwife said.
She held the child triumphantly up in the air, then she layed the child on Elisa’s chest. Her body was still shaking from crying fits, only gradually she realised, that her child lived, that it was all over, that there was a god that watched over her and her child and always would. The midwife fetched a vial from her bag.
– Open your mouth, she said.
Elisa numbly complied, and the midwife dripped a strong and bitter tasting fluid on hertongue.
– Now swallow nicely, the midwife said.
– What is that? Elisa faintly asked.
The fluid burned a trace on her tongue and further down her throat.
– A substrate from a poisonous mushroom. I still have to sew the cut, and this will make the pain more bearable.
– I could’ve used this earlier, Elisa said.
– You cannot give birth to a child without pain. The pain is the mainspring, the midwife answered. Otherwise we never would’ve gotten the boy out.
– One can also exaggerate, Elisa replied.
She definitely would not be able to get through something like this again.
With her sweaty hand she stroked the bald head of Nico, who sucked on her breast satisfied. After the last couple of hours this softness almost seemed unnatural to her, as if she would’ve expected that the pain would never go away and torment her for the rest of her life.
The midwife waited a few minutes, then she began her work. Elisa looked in the face of her child, which screwed its eyes to a small pile of wrinkles as it sucked the milk out of her breasts.
– Is it healthy?, she asked.
The midwife hesitated.
– I hope so, she said. He almost choked, but I think he’s out of the woods now. But you can’t yet really know for sure.
– It’s alright, I know it, Elisa said.
The midwife smiled, as she used needle and threat to stitch the perineal back together.
Elisa felt no pain. She felt as if she was miraculously light, a pleasantly warm fatigue spread inside her.
– Your mixture is marvellous, she said.
The midwife grinned.
– I hope you don’t hold the insult against me, the stroke to the face. But sometimes that gives women the required power back, do you understand? It was nothing personal.
– I already forgot all about that, Elisa said. I’m just glad, that it’s over.
The midwife cleaned the scissor and the needle in hot water and stowed the utensils away in her bag.
– I will get your husband.