The Eyes of a Woman
She sat in a room she had known for twenty years of her life, with her little brother on her left hand-side and her Father on her right. In the bay window, a wooden cot nestled against the low wall. Inside, lay an eight month old baby belly down; head erect, peering through the bars. Her eyes rested briefly upon his face. It crumpled like tissue and his little mouth uttered an odd cry.
‘Don’t cry little one, it’s okay. I didn’t mean to frighten you’, she said in a soft voice.
‘Just ignore him; he’s doing his best to wind me up.’
‘But Dad, I think he needs something.’
She turned to speak to her three-year-old brother and a cry came again from the cot.
‘What’s the matter mate. Do you want a flying lesson?’ Her Father said.
He rose from the bed, approached the cot and gripped the back of the baby’s butter coloured body suit. He lifted him and her brother’s arms spread like a canary in flight.
Her arms reached out towards her baby brother.
‘Here, you take him. I have had enough of his antics.’
Her arms encircled the soft bundle placed upon her lap and her dark hair ran in rivulets across the blonde down of his. The soft smell from the crown of his head made her aware that this was not her child. He squirmed slightly in her lap, and raised his face, his bluebell eyes looked into the dark brown depths of hers.
‘It is okay, I am your sister. I won’t hurt you’.
She sat on the edge of the bed, with him safe in her arms, swaying slightly. She felt the bulk of his little body succumb to her soothing. He lay limp, his breath almost inaudible and his whisper coloured lashes closed like sashes over his eyes. She turned her head to face her other little brother and smiled. When she was sure that the child in her arms was asleep, she stood up and slowly walked to the cot. Gently, she lay him down upon the mattress, lifted the bunny embellished blanket and covered him.
Twenty five years later, she stood at the doorway of that same bedroom. For a moment, she thought she saw her father standing silhouetted against the bay window.
‘Wow! You look so handsome Paul. You certainly have our Father’s dress sense. In fact, you are the same build and height as him.’
‘Yes, I am also wearing his ex-service tie.’
Paul’s arms reached out to her, his eyes wet with emotion. She crossed the floor. In embracing him, the expanse of his body drowning the diminutiveness of her own, she became aware that not only was he her brother, he was now a young man.
The door clunked shut behind her in the family funeral car. Her eyes fixed on the simple yellow rose bouquet in the black limousine ahead of them and watched as it slowly pulled away from the curb. It turned right, out onto Church Hill Road, past the flat where their Father and his wife had begun their life together. At a respectful pace, it continued to carry their dad to his final destination.
Sat beside Paul, her eyes did not leave the fluttering flowers in front of her. She felt a golden wave wash over her. She understood its message. Smiling and without looking at her brother’s face, she sought out his hand with her own. Her touch was tentative and it gently closed over his. He did not speak.
Five minutes elapsed. ‘Why did you do that?’
The dark brown depths of her ageing eyes met the blue of his. She smiled at him and in the even tempered tone that was her father’s replied;
‘I realised you needed a cuddle.’
For Paul, with love from Talia. 03/05/2010.
‘The eyes of a woman, see more than a man realises.’